February 6, 2016, 10:45 am
Our bus and driver were on hand during a fire to help 25 people get temporary shelter. Photo by: Dan Ferguson/Langley Times
You’ve heard of bus shelters but how about shelter buses?
A shelter bus is a bus from the CMBC fleet that is dispatched from Transit Communications (T-Comm) out of the Surrey Transit Centre to local emergencies where people are being displaced.
The bus provides much needed, safe and warm protection for residents in cases such as a fire, until it is deemed safe to return to their homes.
Not only that, but emergency personnel will often meet the victims right on the bus and if temporary shelter is needed, the bus will then transport the affected people to a hotel.
“Coast Mountain Bus Company has very good working relationships with all of our emergency responders. Shelter buses are requested by Police or Fire Crews throughout Metro Vancouver. When they are requested, we prioritize this request to provide a bus to the incident location,” Derek Zabel, Duty Manager of T-Comm.
This past weekend there was a bus dispatched to a fire in Langley where approximately 25 people took shelter in the bus after they were evacuated from their homes.
This fire was one of four in the month of January to which we dispatched a bus to serve as a shelter.
Two others included the evacuation of a seniors home with approximately 100 tenants in Vancouver, and in Maple Ridge, seniors at the Kanaka Creek Lodge were relocated to a hotel after a fire hit their facility.
We deploy these buses because they can be of great use and comfort for those who are in crisis.
Zabel says this is a service that has a larger effect than just the shelter.
“It is a very important service that we have and if we can assist or help our emergency response teams in these situations, it forms a larger sense of community.”
Author: Adrienne Coling