Letter to Regions A & B – Wildfire Situation

Val CarrASSA News

Dear Swim Clubs of Regions A and B,

Subject: Support for Clubs Impacted by Alberta’s Wildfire Situation

On behalf of the ASSA board of directors and the entire Alberta swimming community, I am writing to express our deepest concern and support for all the clubs that have been affected by the recent wildfires in Alberta. We understand that some of you have been directly impacted by evacuation orders, while others have stepped up to support the affected communities and provide assistance to the evacuees.

The ASSA is committed to helping and supporting our swim clubs in any way we can. We understand the challenges faced by both the evacuated clubs and those who have welcomed evacuees into their communities. We would like to extend our assistance and provide options and solutions to those who are struggling during these difficult times.

For those clubs that have been evacuated:

We kindly request you let us know your current location so that we can help you find suitable alternatives and assist in restoring a sense of normalcy for your swimmers. We believe that it is crucial to provide children with the opportunity to continue their training and experience the joy of swimming wherever possible. We are committed to doing everything within our power to facilitate this.

For the clubs/communities that have graciously accepted evacuees:
We assure you that we will work closely with your regions and clubs to ensure that all swimmers if they choose to do so, have the opportunity to swim. We understand the importance of maintaining routines and providing a sense of stability for the evacuees during their stay. Together, we can create an inclusive and supportive swimming environment for everyone involved.

For clubs hosting competitions early in the season:
Considering the unique circumstances, hosting competitions during the first season may present additional challenges. We would like to offer our support and provide a list of considerations when dealing with hosting a swim meet while accommodating fire evacuees:

1. Infrastructure: Evaluate the condition and functionality of your swimming facility and explore whether it will be utilized for supporting evacuees, such as providing showers or meals. Collaborate with relevant stakeholders for these purposes.
2. Town Guidelines: Familiarize yourself with the guidelines and protocols issued by local authorities regarding the hosting of events and gatherings. Ensure that all necessary safety measures are implemented and communicated effectively, taking into account any specific requirements related to the wildfire situation.
3. Hotel and Restaurant Capacity: Check the availability of accommodation options and local restaurants in your area. Given the potential influx of evacuees and participants, it is essential to ensure that there is sufficient capacity to accommodate everyone while adhering to safety guidelines.
4. Emergency Services: Establish communication channels and partnerships with local emergency services, such as fire departments and medical facilities, to ensure swift responses to any emergencies that may arise during the event.
5. Air Quality: Monitor air quality conditions in your area and follow the recommendations provided by local authorities. If necessary, contact ASSA for the next steps when required.
6. Other Risks to Consider: Assess additional risks associated with the wildfire situation, such as road closures, power outages, or potential for further evacuations. Develop contingency plans to address these risks and ensure the safety of all participants.
7. Volunteer Support: Engage your club members, families, and the community to provide volunteer support during the event. This will help alleviate the burden and ensure the smooth running of the competition while considering the potential strain on resources due to the wildfire situation.
8. Emotional Support: Recognize the emotional impact that the evacuees may be experiencing and provide resources for emotional support. Collaborate with local mental health organizations to offer counselling services if needed, both during the event and in the aftermath.

Should any of these items become of concern, please contact the ASSA President, Lynnette Thoresen, at albertasummerswimming@gmail.com or (780)502-1248.

We firmly believe that by working together and supporting one another, we can overcome the challenges posed by this unprescident situiation.

Thank you,
Lynnette Thoresen President, ASSA