National Union applauds bravery of citizens and emergency workers in Fort McMurray

“I am deeply concerned for the public employees who have put themselves at risk to assist in the fight. The National Union is immensely proud of the work that wildlands firefighters, first responders and emergency personnel — many of whom are our members — are doing to protect the citizens of Fort McMurray. We also cannot forget the many health professionals who will be on hand to assist those injured or harmed during the crisis.” — James Clancy, NUPGE National President


Ottawa (04 May 2016) — The wildfires devastating Alberta’s Fort McMurray area have caused the province to engage in the largest evacuation in its history. Tens of thousands of residents have been forced from their homes as a result of the blaze. It has been estimated that approximately 1,600 structures across Fort McMurray have been destroyed.


“Like most Canadians, I have watched with horror the damage being wrought on the community,” said James Clancy, National President of the 360,000-member National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE).


“I am deeply concerned for the public employees who have put themselves at risk to assist in the fight. The National Union is immensely proud of the work that wildlands firefighters, first responders and emergency personnel — many of whom are our members — are doing to protect the citizens of Fort McMurray. We also cannot forget the many health professionals who will be on hand to assist those injured or harmed during the crisis."


"I am also deeply grateful for the workers who helped evacuate residents in a safe, efficient and peaceful manner," Clancy said. "The fact that the evacuation was done without major injury is a relief to us all."


Becoming a national effort


There are reports that the province of Alberta is currently consulting with the federal government and other provinces for support from outside of the province.


“In times of crisis in this country, Canadians want and need our governments to step forward and provide assistance,” said Clancy. “Provinces have frequently sent wildlands firefighters to assist with efforts to control a blaze in another jurisdiction. This spirit of mutual aid partly defines us as Canadians.”


Neighbours helping neighbours


There are growing reports of Albertans stepping forward to assist in the crisis by providing food and lodging to those displaced. However, people in the area who wish to help are urged to contact the municipality office first.


For those outside of Alberta who want to help, the Canadian Red Cross has launched an appeal for Fort McMurray relief donations. Donations can be made on the Red Cross website, or by calling 1-800-418-1111.


Also, for those concerned about family and friends in Fort McMurray, people can call the Red Cross family reunification line at 1-888-350-6070.


Regular updates on the fire are available or monitor the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo on Twitter.


More information:


Fort McMurray wildfire updates


Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (twitter)


Canadian Red Cross


NUPGE


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE