Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Justice

Minister Bond recognizes outstanding achievements of Emergency Management volunteers

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2011 Public Safety Lifeline Volunteer awards
Friday, June 3, 2011 11:08 AM


On Monday, May, 31st, 2011, Minister Bond recognized the outstanding achievements of emergency volunteers who are part of the Public Safety Lifeline Volunteers (PSLV) during formal presentations at the legislature.

Each year, volunteers are recognized for their outstanding contributions in the following 6 categories: Search and Rescue, Emergency Social Services, PEP Air, Road Rescue, Emergency Communications and Lifetime Achievement.

The winners are noted below:

Search and Rescue - Bob Zimmerman
Emergency Social Services - Bev Stenning
PEP Air - Marie Woodruff
Road Rescue - Jim Hurtado
Emergency Communications - Brady Conroy
Lifetime Achievement - Bob Piggott

Why It Matters:

There are more than 13,000 PSL volunteers who support disaster response in the Province of British Columbia. They come from every corner of the province and from all walks of life and respond to an average of 6,000 incidents a year. They contribute their time, community spirit, dedication and commitment to saving lives and public safety.

Quick Facts:

  • PSLV volunteers lead air and ground searches, helping the victims of serious car accidents to setting up networks of volunteer teams and coordinating services for victims of natural disasters.
  • British Columbia’s diverse and rugged geography and many outdoor recreational opportunities has led to more recorded search and rescue incidents than in other parts of the country.
  • There are approximately 4,700 registered Search and Rescue volunteers throughout the province who are organized into teams and respond to over 1000 searches province-wide. In any given year Search and Rescue groups in BC respond to nearly 1000 incidents involving over 1300 missing (lost) or injured persons
  • PEP Air's primary function is to assist Canadian Forces during search and rescue missions when additional resources are required. Currently, the organization includes over 100 aircraft crewed by more than 900 pilots, spotters and navigators.
  • Emergency Radio Communications respond when all other systems of communications fail. A proven and reliable means of communications, emergency or “ham” radio is a public safety lifeline that assists within the community and links the community in crisis to where relief and support can be coordinated.
  • Emergency Social Services provides short-term assistance to British Columbians who are forced to leave their homes because of fire, floods, earthquakes or other emergencies. This assistance includes food, lodging, clothing, emotional support and family reunification.
  • Road Rescue volunteers attend over 2,000 motor vehicle accidents annually across the province. Under the road rescue organization, teams provide vehicle extrication, rope rescue and other specialized rescue services to help protect BC’s travelling public. 

    About this year's winners:

    Bob Zimmerman is the 2011 Search and Rescue Volunteer of the Year.

    Search and Rescue volunteers in B.C. respond to over 1000 searches province-wide. In any given year Search and Rescue groups in BC respond to nearly 1000 incidents involving over 1300 missing (lost) or injured persons. 2500 unpaid professional volunteers, located in more than 80 BC communities are available day or night. SAR volunteers donate over 100,000 hours of their time on callouts annually, and an astounding 95% subjects were found or rescued within the first 24 hours of a volunteer SAR group being activated. Bob has been an active volunteer for over 20 years and serves as President of the Quesnel Search and Rescue Team. Following his retirement from the RCMP, Bob became an SAR Manager and a GSAR Instructor. He has also become an ATV and Snowmobile Safety Instructor for the Canadian Safety Council, and shares his knowledge, teaching GPS courses and off-road safety to SAR volunteers. An extraordinary mentor, technical expert, innovator and leader, Bob effectively and calmly collaborates with all stakeholders under stressful situations. He is also very humble and someone who genuinely enjoys sharing his extensive knowledge with others to enhance B.C.’s search and rescue capacity. Bob has also dedicated numerous hours to raise funds and coordinate SAR training. His efforts in Quesnel were rewarded by the City with recognition as Citizen of the Year.

    Bev Stenning is the 2011 Emergency Social Services Volunteer of the Year.

    Emergency Social Services provides short-term assistance to British Columbians who are forced to leave their homes because of fire, floods, earthquakes or other emergencies. This assistance includes food, lodging, clothing, emotional support and family reunification. Bev joined the Victoria/Esquimalt Emergency Social Services team in 2002. Since then, she has demonstrated a great deal of dedication to ESS and fulfilled many different roles, maintaining a high degree of competence and professionalism. Bev is also a volunteer with the Canadian Red Cross and a volunteer member of the Mobile Support Team (MST). MST’s are highly trained ESS volunteers who provide on-the-spot training and support to ESS teams throughout the province during significant emergencies, such as the fires in the Central Region in 2003 and 2009. Bev is held in high regard by the ESS community. She led the organization of the Vancouver Island Emergency Preparedness Conference and her skills as an ESS trainer are well-respected throughout British Columbia. Bev also possesses a contagious energy and positive attitude that has won the respect of ESS volunteers.

    Marie Woodruff is the 2011 PEP Air Volunteer of the Year.

    PEP Air's primary function is to assist Canadian Forces during search and rescue missions when additional resources are required. Currently, the organization includes over 100 aircraft crewed by more than 900 pilots, spotters and navigators. Marie has been active with PEP Air as a volunteer spotter since 1995. Always available and ready to go when needed, Marie has volunteered for some very long days. She is very dedicated, always positive and takes on additional duties to support Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA), such as helping to produce the quarterly newsletter and taking meeting minutes - in fact, she has never missed a meeting. She also helps with administration to maintain a strong PEP Air Program on Vancouver Island. In the words of the Vancouver Island Zone Commander, Bill Velie, “Keep up the good work Marie, because we need you!”

    Jim Hurtado is the 2011 Road Rescue Volunteer of the Year.

    BC Road Rescue is an organized service with members who may be requested to provide support to people involved in out-of-jurisdiction motor vehicle accidents where specialized skills and equipment are required for extrication. Jim has been a volunteer with the Vanderhoof Volunteer Extrication Association (VVEA) since its inception in 1978. He has played an integral role in the VVEA as a volunteer, donating hundreds of hours to support training and fundraising to ensure the association’s viability and substantial growth under his leadership. The costs of purchasing and maintaining equipment are substantial, but Jim has secured funding to replace the road rescue truck three times, most recently in September 2011. Jim possesses a great deal of compassion for his fellow volunteers. No matter what the call was, Jim was there to greet the team that had ventured out - invariably on bad roads, at any time of the day or night. He was also ever-present to meet the team after they returned to the fire hall following calls, knowing that moral support was a vital part of ensuring volunteer responders were OK. Jim recently retired from the VVEA, so it is only fitting to recognize his 31 years of dedicated volunteer service.

    Brady Conroy is the 2011 EMBC Emergency Radio Communications Volunteer of the Year.

    During disasters and other serious emergency situations, when many other systems fail, a proven reliable means of communication has been emergency radio communications, notably “amateur” or “ham” radio. Emergency radio is a public safety lifeline that assists within the community and links the community in crisis to where relief and support can be coordinated. During Firestorm 2009, Brady worked hundreds of hours in the radio room, often getting by on a mere 4-5 hours of sleep between his job at the pulp mill and his volunteer work as the station manager of the Radio Room in the Kamloops PREOC. Brady ensured the radio room remained operational for extended hours (often 24/7), mentoring other volunteers on weekends to ensure they understood their roles and the importance of their contributions. Brady brings a quiet leadership style to his role. Over his decade of volunteering with the program, he has created a new operation manual for the radio room, produced a training video of the set-up and operations of the new deployable kit, and generated a monthly bulletin for all members. Brady has also developed an informal mentorship program for new volunteer recruits. His leadership and organizational skills are an inspiration to volunteers and emergency management staff alike.

    Robert (Bob) Piggott - PSLV Lifetime Achievement Award

    Bob Piggott is no stranger to emergency management. For the past 23 years, Bob has been a fixture at the North Shore Emergency Management office as a Public Safety Lifeline Volunteer. Bob’s a team player, and his humour, creativity, warmth, dedication, and appreciation of those around him aren’t the only things that make him such a vital part of the organization. Since 1988, Bob has provided critical service in emergencies on the North Shore as coordinator and trainer of the Emergency Radio Communications Team, a Rapid Damage Assistance instructor, a member of the Emergency Management Team and of the North Shore Emergency Planning and Operations Group and advisor for the Lions Gate Hospital on the development of the amateur radio component of their emergency operations centre. As Bob prepares his succession, the office has found that it’s virtually impossible to tabulate the number of hours Bob has given to the North Shore office. What they can tell you is that it’s taking two volunteers to replace him. As Bob winds down his activities, Emergency Management BC is pleased to be able to honour him and his outstanding service with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

    To view photos of the award winners, see the PSSG Flickr Slideshow

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