The Calgary Counselling Centre is one of the agencies on the ‘first call’ list when the Alberta Emergency Wellness Response Team is activated. The team was created prior to the 2013 floods in High River and Calgary to provide coordinated and effective community disaster response. Organizations such as the Distress Centre Calgary, Carya, Calgary Chinese Elderly Citizens Association, as well as Alberta Health Services and the City of Calgary, make up its membership roster.
After the floods, the response team formalized its role, developing terms of reference and protocols, so when the fires started at the edges of Fort McMurray, the team was ready to go.
Approximately 80,000 residents were displaced and 2,400 homes and buildings destroyed. Some evacuees were housed in field camps or other temporary accommodation, but large numbers of people, especially families, who had no other place to go, came to Calgary.
Over the next several weeks, counsellors from the Calgary Counselling Centre provided support to hundreds of evacuees staying at the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University evacuee centres.
Our counsellors provided evacuees with the tools to help manage distress and learn to cope with post-disaster adversity.
“Our CCC team sprang to action, completing the psychological first aid training. We were able to provide immediate outreach support services as part of a coordinated community response,” said Cathy Keough, Director of Counselling Initiatives.