211 provides critical information to Fort McMurray Evacuees

Written by CMHA Grande Prairie
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211 provides critical information to Fort McMurray Evacuees cbc.ca

No one can predict when a disaster like the Fort McMurray fires may occur- nor the emotional trauma and devastation that is left in its wake.

211 service was available for those who needed it most. Information & Referral Specialists are highly skilled in crisis intervention, and are prepared to support a community during a time of crisis. 211 is a simple way for people to connect with thousands of government, community and social services as well as provide emotional support to callers and chatters who need it the most.

Tens of thousands of residents were displaced throughout Alberta during the evacuation of Fort McMurray last year. On the morning of May 4, 2016 various organizations invested in providing 211 service across the province met to ensure evacuees could get connected with services, no matter where they were in Alberta.

Two 1-800 numbers were activated to connect callers to the contact centres in Edmonton and Calgary, and an online chat service was implemented. The data team tracked rapidly changing information during the initial days of the evacuation to ensure the list of essential services was responsive and accessible on the ab.211.ca website. People wanting to donate items or volunteer their time could also connect with 211.

“We were able to reach evacuees throughout the province when they needed help the most via their iPhone (chat and website) which was their lifeline while displaced.” Stated Robyn Romano, 211 Program Supervisor, Distress Centre Calgary. “Information and Referral Specialists were able to provide up-to-date information related to the evacuation through 211 and help reduce the frustration hundreds were feeling.”

To access the 211 After Action Report: 2016 Wood Buffalo Wildfires and find out more about the vital role of 211 in disaster response please visit ab.211.ca.

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