Canadian Red Cross Disaster Management Volunteer Vest

Date / Period
Slave Lake, Alberta
Object Type
Textiles and Uniforms
Disaster Management

The fires burned for three days, turning what would have been an otherwise beautiful spring week in northern Alberta into a massive disaster scene.  On May 14, 2011 a wildfire, driven by very high winds and dry conditions, tore through Slave Lake, Alta. and into the surrounding community. The unforgiving flames tore through countless residences and other buildings. The order for evacuation came, forcing thousands of residents to flee to surrounding areas, including Edmonton, Athabasca and Westlock. 

At the time, it was the largest evacuation in Alberta’s history. The people of the town were evacuated safely, but, there was a single fatality – a helicopter pilot who was assisting with the firefighting effort. 

The town hall in Slave Lake had been destroyed by flames; the spirit of the town, though, had not. Albertans, and their neighbours across the country, began contributing donations to the recovery effort of the town. Millions of dollars were raised to support evacuees of Slave Lake while they tried to put their lives back together again after this wildfire-driven evacuation. The damage to physical property was dramatic with over a billion dollars in damage caused. 

Millions of dollars were raised to support victims of these wildfires. Thousands of families received assistance from the Red Cross. This Canadian Red Cross vest is much like those worn by any of the hundreds of Red Cross volunteers deployed to the region to support the recovery. 

Financial support helped get residents through the immediate impact of the wildfires while long-term steps were taken to help as well. Volunteers ran workshops to help residents handle the trauma and stress of the wildfire and the evacuation. Red Cross provided support as residents repaired their homes, provided personal health items and helped the community to build resiliency to future disasters. 

Community projects, designed to restore the community’s strength, were undertaken. 

Fires had taken away people’s property and homes. They had been forced to flee, with their lives in danger. A fire can move very quickly and can change a community in a the span of a few hours or days. Recovery takes more time. As the people of Slave Lake continue to bring the community back to where it was before the disaster, the task of recovery continues. 

Canadian Red Cross Disaster Management Volunteer Vest

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