The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) would like to thank all the first responders, public service workers and who have worked tirelessly to respond to this tragedy and care for our communities.
Ottawa (24 Sept. 2018) — On Friday, September 21, around 4:30 p.m., cell phones started going off en masse as the public warning system alerted people living in the Ottawa-Gatineau region of potential tornadoes. Within minutes, the area suffered major destruction as tornadoes touched down in 4 communities. Trees were flattened, houses were leveled and power was out for at least 2 days for thousands of residents. The region hadn't seen this kind of weather crisis since the Ice Storm of 1998.
People emerged from their homes, or what was left of their homes, to a shocking sight: devastation.
Immediately, sirens came to life as police, firetrucks and ambulances rushed into action. Hospitals were put on alert to receive the injured. City and town staff went into overdrive as they prepared emergency services for those affected. Community centres, schools and public library workers gathered supplies like food and water. Volunteers called the Red Cross to see how they could help. And hydro workers worked day and night to restore power across the region.
Many of these fine people are our members. Many aren't. All of the frontline workers did what they always do when there is a crisis. They went to work for their community. We're proud of them all.
These are the people who are first into the dangers, and the last to leave after the public is safe. They are the people who work around the clock looking after the community and helping those affected. They are crucial to our cities and our provinces, and our country.
As always, people came from all over to lend a hand. With their chainsaws and trucks. With hot food and water. People opened their homes for showers and a bed. It was community in action. It was instinct — strangers helping strangers.
In a crisis, we can count on 2 things: that there will be competent, well trained and dedicated teams of public service professionals that we can all rely on to right the ship and that people will pull together to help each other.
Our members, and the frontline workers at Hydro, in the fire services, in the police services and in the hospitals and all the many public responders will not even meet most of the people they have put themselves on the line to protect and serve.
But we call it public service for a reason.
Public services and public service workers help us take care of each other.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) would like to thank all the first responders, public service workers and all those who have worked tirelessly to respond to this tragedy and care for our communities.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 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