"Winter can be harsh, especially for those not prepared, and it has felt long this year, but it is still beautiful."
“Winter can be harsh, especially for those not prepared, and it has felt long this year, but it is still beautiful.”

By: Korie Marshall

The storm last week may have caught many of us by its ferocity, but it is winter, and we live in the mountains. We really shouldn’t be surprised that we get storms, cold temperatures and power outages.

While we are still recovering from an early dump of snow, and many are likely dealing with stuff that froze and broke in the cold, like door handles, water pipes and engine parts, many have been discussing our village’s emergency plans.

That is a good thing, because being in the middle of an emergency situation makes you think about the things that need to be done. But as much as it is a good idea to have an emergency kit and an emergency plan, I think it’s more effective to live in a way you can survive these situations – and a big part of that is being part of a community.

People often think that “the Village” or “someone” should have a plan, and a list of people to check on when storms and emergencies happen. It sometimes sounds like they are putting the responsibility on someone else, and some people will respond that it is each person’s responsibility to have their own backup plan – get a generator to keep your furnace running, or make sure you have your wood shed filled, and have food and tools ready when you need them.

But what I have noticed, especially over the last week, is that people can and will help you – if you let them know you need help, and especially if you do what you can to help others. We are not islands; I can’t imagine that having your home warm, your freezer full and your driveway plowed will be any good in the long run if your neighbours and friends are all stuck in their houses, freezing and starving. We are social creatures, and even if we sometimes don’t feel like socializing, it would be really hard to survive totally alone.

I’ve heard stories this week of people helping people keep warm and safe and helping dig out, which is heart warming. I’ve also heard distressing stories about people who maybe didn’t know who to ask for help. I realize that no list or plan put together by the village offices, or Emergency BC, or whoever, can deal with all situations – only we can, each of us, by being involved. Being aware of our risks (snow, cold and power outages are some of our most common risks in the Robson Valley) and knowing how to help each other is a big part of that, and to me, that is a huge part of community. Planning to look after yourself is important; realizing how you can help others is also important.

And I know it can be a struggle for some people to ask for help, especially those who pride themselves on being independent, being survivors, and looking after themselves. I know, because I am one of those people. But if you need help, or if you know of someone that needs help and you can’t provide it, you have to let people know. You have a community that will help you.