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Pilot project aims to emotionally prepare military families for emergencies

Last Updated Oct 21, 2017 at 1:34 pm PDT

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One group hopes their "emergency preparedness" sessions will help families of military members emotionally

The BCMFRC wants to help families of military members and first responders cope while loved ones are called into action

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – There’s a lot of information out there about how to prepare for emergencies, but how do those who are called into action prepare mentally?

“[For] a lot of families, their immediate response is to come together. But for families of military, families of first responders, in the case of an emergency, they have to be prepared to be apart,” explains Executive Director Tracy Cromwell with the Mainland BC Military Family Resource Centre.

She says there’s a gap in what’s being presented in terms of how to help these people cope. What if those working are preoccupied because they don’t know whether their families are well equipped to handle a disaster or not?

“Whether they’re deployed overseas or whether they’re deployed to fight a fire,” she says. “It’s really difficult for them to do that if they are kind of pulled in two directions.”

Cromwell says there are thousands of military families across the province, and those attending sessions will learn “standard” emergency preparedness –like knowing to turn the gas off or having a 72-hour kit— but will also be taught an extra component.

“Part of the module that we’re putting into that is ‘How do you build up your emotional support network? How do you help children in order to be prepared for the fact that maybe a parent or somebody is going to be away for awhile? What can you do for them to get them prepared for those things?'”

The first two sessions will take place in the Okanagan next weekend, but the centre hopes to hold more sessions in the new year.

Cromwell says the pilot project is already getting positive feedback, and hopes the sessions will make a difference.