Together, we are facing a truly unprecedented situation as COVID-19 is not only impacting our local communities in the Province of British Columbia but this pandemic also has far reaching national and international implications. During this time, it is important to put your safety, your family’s safety and your coworker’s safety at the forefront of your daily routine and planning.
As we experience Federal, Provincial, and Local polices being engaged on what feels like an hourly basis, to public amenities and facilities closing down, it is Public Works that will continue to provide essential services for the foreseeable future. What is an essential service? The basic assumption of safe water distribution and fire protection, sanitary collections and treatment, ensuring our roadways are open and safe and our drainage system is maintained. But I would like to add that another important service we as Public Works professionals can provide is a sense of normality. Depending on the direction of isolation, in times of uncertainty such as the pandemic situation we are facing now, it is imperative that we ensure that the public services we safely provide will continue to take place. Solid waste management, sweeping programs, keeping our open spaced parks and trails open. As indoor public spaces continue to close their doors, these plus other amenities can help our communities maintain a sense of normality as we fight against the challenge at hand.
While this challenge needs to be approached from upmost safety precautions, there is an urgent need for Public Works to take a proactive role in crisis response and to offer their expertise on improving physical conditions and thereby creating dignified living conditions and the feeling of normality for people seeking sanctuary in an unfamiliar environment.
This may be the time to evaluate the depth in your work force. Did you cross train departmentally? How is your successional training? It is not too late. Start thinking about what you may do with a depleting crew. Time to take action is now. You are not alone. Reach out to your colleagues for assistance, mentorship or guidance. Reach out to your neighboring community if you need resources such as operators.
Again, safety to you and your family first. Continue to take precautions with your staff. Continue to practice social distancing. Continue good hygiene. Flatten the Curve.