The Peninsula Emergency Measures Organization (PEMO) is a group of four volunteer organizations that is overseen and administered collectively by the Town of Sidney, District of North Saanich, and District of Central Saanich.
The four teams that make up PEMO are Search and Rescue, Emergency Support Services, Communications, and Neighbourhood Emergency Preparedness Program.
Emergency Support Services is a provincial program delivered by First Nations and Local Authorities that meets the basic needs of British Columbians impacted by disasters by providing short-term support in a compassionate manner.
Peninsula residents forced from their homes by fire, floods, earthquakes or other emergencies may receive emergency support services for up to 72 hours. Services may include food, lodging, clothing, emotional support, information about the crisis, and family reunification. There may also be special services like first aid, child minding, pet care and transportation.
In the event of a disaster, you may not be able to remain in your residence. In this case, the Local Authority will initiate an emergency response. As a result, ESS will set up one or more Reception Centers on the Saanich Peninsula. These Reception Centres will provide for Registration of affected citizens, food, clothing, lodging and other needs as required.
Emergency Support Services volunteers assist with:
- Identifying locations for reception centres and group lodging;
- Finding other volunteers;
- Working with local businesses, service organizations and government agencies;
- Housing and feeding people forced from their homes; and
- Supporting other emergency responders.
During disasters and other serious emergency situations, a proven reliable means of communication has been emergency radio communications, notably “amateur” or “ham” radio.
Through the Provincial Emergency Radio Communications Service (PERCS) Emergency Management & Climate Readiness BC is linked with volunteer amateur radio operators who are available to assist with communications in the event of an emergency.
These licensed volunteer amateur radio operators train regularly and often take part in emergency exercises so they are prepared for any crisis situation that arises.
Neighbourhood Emergency Preparedness Program (NEPP) is made up of volunteers from your community. The purpose is to provide information and guidance to individuals, families, businesses and neighbours in preparing for a disaster. Encouraging people to get to know their neighbours allows them to share information, offer support, and feel connected. Should anything happen, like a severe storm or earthquake, your neighbours will be your first responders.
NEPP offers presentations to neighbourhoods to bring communities together and build a resilient network. It only takes a couple of neighbourhood get-togethers before you have the necessary information and skills, then you and your neighbours will be prepared to assist each other in an emergency.
The Saanich Peninsula’s diverse and rugged geography and many outdoor recreational opportunities has created a need for a devoted Search and Rescue team. This team may be called upon to assist police in searching for lost recreationalists or to help in accessing and transporting injured people if specialized skills or equipment are needed.
They also provide support to local communities during emergencies by helping distribute information during evacuations and other critical response activities.
The PEMO Search and Rescue Team may be called upon at any time of the day or night to assist in a search for a missing persons, evidence searches, and to provide disaster assistance support. This group is on standby 24/7 and not limited to just major disasters.