Northern fires hit home for CDART

New animal emergency rescue organization holding workshops weekend in Wasa, May 14-15

  • May. 11, 2016 6:00 a.m.

Barry Coulter

The devastating events in Northern Alberta have got the attention of the country, and paying particular notice are members of the newly formed East Kootenay chapter of the Canadian Disaster Emergency Response Team (CDART).

CDART provides emergency services for pets, livestock and other animals during wildfires, floods, severe storms, environmental disasters, or anything that requires the evacuation of residents from their homes. Though only two months old, sign-up response has been great, with volunteers joining up in droves.

CDART has planned an education workshop weekend in Wasa, this Saturday and Sunday, May 14-15, and organizer Ron McConnell says the fires of Northern Alberta and Northern B.C. will very much on people’s minds, both those attending and those giving workshops. CDART East Kootenay has offered their services to the responders in Fort McMurray if they feel they are needed, McConnell said.

“We haven’t been called yet; however, a lot of stuff still has to be done before they can even let people into the area,” McConnell told the Townsman. “It’s still a pretty iffy situation. But the offer is out there and our mobile support teams from all over B.C. are on standby.”

The ferocious fire that forced complete evacuation from Fort McMurray and surrounding communities is an object lesson for people living in these parts, McConnell said.

“A lot of people were caught off guard. A lot of the evacuation orders came in the middle of the day, when people were at work and couldn’t get back to their homes to pick up their animals. Luckily the community did rally around and helped very quickly and a lot of animals were brought out.

“Just the same, they are finding some. There are stories of firemen finding a cat in the oven of a burned out house — it took refuge somewhere in the kitchen. They are finding animals that are alive in the damaged areas, but it’s bringing it home to people that we have to be prepared for this kind of event, we’re not immune to it, and services like ours are there to help them.”

It’s also good for the public to be aware of the importance of services CDART provides.

“When you look at the interviews, you can see a lot of the people were freaked out and stressed out by the fact that they had to leave their animals behind,” McConnell said. “Hopefully we can take that stress level down a bit for the other first responders so they don’t have to deal with the confrontation of people saying ‘no, we’re not going.’”

These thoughts are going to be on everybody’s minds for the upcoming Wasa workshop weekend.

“We were up in Windermere last Saturday,” McConnell said. “They had their emergency preparedness fair at the fire hall, and we set up a booth. Everybody up there was saying that Fort McMurray and Fort St. John brought it home to everybody this year. It’s in our faces, it’s on the news every hour of the day, and people are starting to realize that this is something we could be caught in very easily here, in this tunnel we call the Rocky Mountain Trench. If a fire starts at one end, it wouldn’t take long for it to move through the whole trench.”

A series of interesting workshops are planned for the weekend at the Wasa Community Hall, on Wasa School Road.

Saturday features an all-day event — an Emergency Animal Sheltering Workshop, run by CDART co-ordinator Heather Ferguson. Ferguson has extensive experience in saving animals from fires and floods. The workshop takes place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

On Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., there will be a workshop on Humane Transportation and Loading, run by Dr. Andrew Mack, District Veterinarian out of Cranbrook.

Following that, Aldred Joseph, a Ktunaxa Elder, rancher and horse trainer will run the workshop “Dealing with 1,000 Pounds of Frightened Animal,” from 11:30 to 1 p.m., which covers everything you need to know about getting a horse ready to travel in emergency situations.

“Introduction to Pet First Aid” will take place from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, run by Martina Frensemeier, a Companion Animal Behaviour Consultant.

While the weekend is meant for CDART members and volunteers, McConnell said the public is welcome to stop by and check out the organization.

To register for the Wasa Workshops Weekend, email cdarteastkootenay@gmail.com.

Just Posted

City council deferred moving forward on a proposed development in Wildstone, requesting a meeting with the developer to get clarification on project details. Photo submitted.
Cranbrook city council debates proposed Wildstone development

Cranbrook city council held off on moving forward with a proposed apartment… Continue reading

Interior Health is reporting a COVID-19 exposure at Selkirk Secondary in Kimberley. Bulletin file.
COVID-19 case identified at Selkirk Secondary in Kimberley

Interior Health is conducting contact tracing

Cranbrook Arts will finally open the doors to their brand new gallery space on Friday, June 18th, 2021 at 4pm. To see what is behind these doors, be sure to check out the exhibit, Kootenay's Best, running until Labour Day weekend. (Cranbrook Arts file)
Cranbrook Arts’ inaugural exhibit, Kootenay’s Best, opens this Friday

The exhibit features over 50 Kootenay-based artists and will run until Labour Day Weekend

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League met for their AGM and announced a number of new initiatives, new awards and changes in their executive committee, as well as the starting date for the 2021-22 season. Paul Rodgers file.
KIJHL announces start dates for 2021-22 season

Season set to begin Oct. 1 with league still following all health guidelines

Calvin Dickson photo.
Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for East Kootenay

Conditions favourable for the development of thunderstorms, hail and heavy rain

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers tested more than 230 commonly used cosmetics and found that 56% of foundations and eye products, 48% of lip products and 47% of mascaras contained high levels of fluorine

White Rock’s Marine Drive has been converted to one-way traffic to allow more patio space for waterfront restaurants. (Peace Arch News)
Province promotes permanent pub patios in B.C. post-pandemic plan

More than 2,000 temporary expansions from COVID-19 rules

Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake campus students Ethan Reid, from left, Brenden Higgins, Ty Oviatt, Kaleb Alphonse, Nathan Kendrick and Landon Brink with RCMP officers Const. Nicoll and Const. Stancec. (Photo submitted)
RCMP thank 6 teens for helping prevent forest fire in Williams Lake

The students came across fire in a wooded area and used the water they had to try and extinguish the flames

There is an emergency shelter near the Golden Ears peaks. (Facebook/Special to The News)
Hiker fogged in on Golden Ears, spends 2 nights

Talon Helicopters, Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue bring him home Monday

Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada, speaks at a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul facing no-confidence motion from party brass

move follows months of internal strife and the defection of MP Jenica Atwin to the Liberals

Tulips bloom in front of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Thursday, May 10, 2018. Day two of a full week of scheduled hearings will be heard in Federal Court today on a case involving Indigenous children unnecessarily taken into foster care by what all parties call Canada’s “broken child welfare system.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
AFN slams Ottawa for ‘heartless’ legal challenge of First Nations child compensation

2019 decision awarded $40,000 to each Indigenous child removed before 2006

Ivy was thrown out of a moving vehicle in Kelowna. Her tail was severely injured and will be amputated. (BC SPCA)
Kitten thrown from moving vehicle, needs help: Kelowna SPCA

The seven-week-old kitten had severe tail and femur injuries

Most Read