Volunteer roles and responsibilities

Buddies and Alternates

Each person who has self-identified as unable to exit the building on their own has been assigned a volunteer Buddy and an Alternate. The Alternate fulfills the duties if the Buddy is not available for any reason. Alternate Buddies are expected to attend the suite they are assigned to. If the Buddy they are backing up is present, the Alternate should first check to see if they need help with anything, before leaving the building. The responsibilities of the Buddy are to:

  • support the resident who is unable to exit their suite on their own.
  • remain calm and help the resident remain calm.
  • in the event of smoke:
    • place a wet towel or sheet at the bottom of the door and masking or duct tape to seal all the cracks around the door where smoke could get in.
    • crouch low to the floor if smoke enters the room. More oxygen is available near the floor and the air is cooler and cleaner.
    • if possible, move to a balcony or the most protected room and partially open the window for air. Close the window if smoke comes in.
  • help the Pet Helper prepare the pet to leave safely.
  • prepare items that need to leave with the resident.
  • stay with the resident until you are both rescued by firefighters or until the ‘all-clear’ is given.
  • remain with the resident, if requested, until their pet(s) have been returned.
  • check your email for the all-clear.

Your Buddy’s main job is to help you stay as safe and calm as possible while you wait, to help co-ordinate your Pet Plan, and to know and gather the items you need to take with you if you have to leave the building. Provide your Buddy with a list of items you’ll need to take, such as medication, canes, wheelchair, etc.

Pet Helpers and Alternates

Each person who has self-identified as unable to exit the building on their own, and has a pet in their suite, has been assigned a volunteer Pet Helper and an Alternate. The Alternate fulfills the duties if the Pet Helper is not available for any reason. Alternate Pet Helpers are also expected to attend the suite they are assigned to. If the Pet Helper they are backing up is present, the Alternate should first check to see if they need help with anything, before leaving the building.  The responsibilities of the Pet Helper are to:

  • do your best to get control of the resident’s pet and take it out of the building as quickly and calmly as possible.
  • keep the pet as warm and dry as possible.
  • remain calm and comfort the pet to help it remain calm.
  • keep the pet in your care – do not let it loose.
  • care for the pet until the all-clear is given. Check your email for the all-clear notice.
  • return the pet to its owner.

All other residents with pets are encouraged to put their own Pet Plan in place for when they are away from the building when the alarm sounds.

Fire Wardens and Alternates

The Fire Wardens and Alternates are responsible to:

  • take the stairs to the main floor at the sound of the fire alarm (do not turn off the alarm except under the direction of the WFPS).
  • check the main floor rooms to ensure everyone has evacuated.
  • ensure people using the front entrance are moving out of the building quickly.
  • retrieve the fire panel key from the office and remove the Firefighters’ Assistance List. Provide it to firefighters when they arrive.
  • act as liaison with Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) when they arrive. Guide WFPS as needed:
    • from the lockbox of keys to the fire panel
    • ensure they receive the Assistance List from the panel if you haven’t given them a copy.
    • into the front lobby where the Fire Plan Box resides (another copy of the Assistance List is kept in the Fire Plan Box, as well as the Communication Contacts at each Muster Point).
    • determine if WFPS requires the OGHC Fire Plan and floorplans from the Fire Plan Box.
    • accompany WFPS to the Mechanical/Electrical or other rooms in the basement if required.
    • answer questions about the people and the building.
  • prevent people from congregating in the entrances, the courtyard or anywhere in the building.
  • act as communication central by using the Residents’ Forum email to communicate critical messages including sending out the all-clear once it is given by the WFPS.
Neighbours checking on neighbours after the all-clear

There are three reasons residents may have stayed in their suite:

  1. They have mobility challenges, are unable to use the stairs, and have requested to be part of the Buddy system.
  2. They have had an injury, medical procedure, or, for some other reason they cannot evacuate as they normally would. These residents should send a message to the Residents’ Forum indicating that they had to stay in their suite.
  3. They were unable to evacuate because of fire or heavy smoke in the hallway outside their door. These residents should contact 9-1-1 and report where they are located in the building. They should then send an email to the Residents’ Forum indicating they are in their suite. They can watch for the all-clear message to arrive via email.

If you are aware that a neighbour has remained in their suite during an evacuation, consider knocking on their door after you have re-entered the building.

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