Best ways to help Fort McMurray

The disaster in Fort McMurray is encouraging an outpouring of concern and offers to help from people across the province and country...

The disaster in Fort McMurray is encouraging an outpouring of concern and offers to help from people across the province and country. People want to help but aren’t being realistic about how to help.

For instance, donating a truckload of bottled water is generous, but how’s it going to get to Fort McMurray? Who’s going to pay for the fuel? Who’s going to unload it when it gets there? Where’s it going to be stored until needed? With damage to the airport and the road system, large loads of goods will have to sit on roadsides or in warehouses until logistics allow delivery.

The best way to help for now is to donate to the Canadian Red Cross, a reputable organization that provides tax deductible receipts for donations and has a transparent organization. Go online at www.redcross.ca.fort-mcmurray-fires and click the Fort McMurray wildfire link or call 1-800-418-1111.

Readers can also go through The Pipestone Flyer’s parent company Black Press. You can donate as little as $5 by clicking on the donate button at Black Press Supports Fort McMurray Relief Efforts at www.blackpress4good.com/blackpress4fortmac.

The management and staff of The Pipestone Flyer extend heartfelt support for all those affected by the catastrophic fires, and all those risking their lives fighting the wildfires.

Firesmart is the

smart plan

Anyone watching TV coverage of the Fort McMurray wildfires certainly feels two things quickly: first, empathy for those who’ve lost their homes and businesses, and, secondly, the feeling of “What would I do if that was me?”

For years the provincial government has championed the Firesmart philosophy and programs, fairly simple, easy ways that government and landowners can prevent or lessen the effects of wildfires in communities.

Firesmart principles are important for any region in Alberta, including the counties of Leduc and Wetaskiwin. Wildfires like the one in Fort McMurray could happen here. Firesmart involves some simple questions, like “Is your property located in or next to a forested area? Does your land have large dry grasslands nearby? Is it practical to evacuate your animals should the need arise?”

Some immediate factors a home or farm owner should consider include roofs that resist fire, a spark arrester on your chimney, keep your gutters clean, ensure vents are operating properly, side your home with fire resistant material, consider double-pane windows, use fire rated doors, sheath the bottom of decks and remember fences and boardwalks create a path for fire to reach your home.

More info about Firesmart is available online at http://wildfire.alberta.ca/fire-smart/documents/FireSmart-HomeOwnersManual-Jun2015.pdf, or at most provincial government offices.

Childish insults

If you’re like the writer of this editorial, you no doubt have as little contact with “social media” as possible. In all fairness to people who can’t get enough Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as possible, it just seems like those media are used to brag, insult or gossip about people.

Should readers be surprised, then, that people like former Lethbridge NDP candidate Tom Moffatt and videogame TV nerd Blake Siefken made insensitive and offensive comments on Twitter July 5 about the Fort McMurray fire. Moffatt, who works for taxpayers as an employee of the Town of Taber, and Siefken, a grown man who makes a living off videogames, made comments to the effect that global warming is causing the wildfire, global warming is caused by the oil and gas industry and Fort McMurray is the oil and gas industry headquarters and, lastly, that everyone in Fort McMurray is getting what they had coming to them. Apparently, before global warming occurred there were never any forest fires.

Literally within minutes Moffat and Siefken were backtracking like crazy, making cardboard apologies and stating for the record something to the effect, My offensive comments were never intended to give offense. Sorry.”

Please, all you Tom Moffatts and Blake Siefkens out there, if you cannot say anything nice or supportive, say nothing at all.

 

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