By Michael Ralston
FORT McMURRAY, Alberta – To date, over 80 members of Team Rubicon (TR) have been deployed to Fort McMurray, Alberta, assisting the Regional Emergency Operations Centre (REOC) and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) in resident re-entry efforts after wildfires consumed more than 566,000 hectares, or over 1.4 million acres. Team Rubicon members led teams of local resources in sifting through potentially hazardous debris and ash in destroyed homes to find keepsakes, heirlooms, and valuables for the residents.
Tasked with the challenge of building, supplying and managing a 300+ person response in just a few days, Team Rubicon called on members of TR USA, TR UK, TR Australia, to support the recently created TR Canada.
“We are impressed with Team Rubicon Canada’s ability to quickly pull together a team of veterans and first responders to seamlessly integrate with Team Rubicon USA and perform at a standard that speaks to TR’s solid reputation as a world-class disaster response organization,” said William McNulty, cofounder and CEO of Team Rubicon Global.
IsraAID, an Israel-based international humanitarian aid and development organization and long-time partner of Team Rubicon, is also assisting as an embedded resource.
On the ground in Fort McMurray since May 25th, Team Rubicon volunteers have been providing sifting services to residents in communities affected by the wildfire including Abasand, Anzac, Beacon Hill, Gregoire, Saprae Creek, Stone Creek, Timberlea, Thickwood, and Waterways.
“I know I lost my home, but what we found today – it’s the happiest day of my life,” said Nargis Sameer, Fort McMurray resident after finding wedding ring with Team Rubicon.
After completing more than 900 resident sifting operations and fielding more than 2400 phone requests, Team Rubicon will complete a planned management transition of the remaining sifting efforts to the Regional Emergency Operations Centre and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo on June 24th.
Team Rubicon’s efforts have spanned nine communities in Fort McMurray, operating 20-40 field teams across the region daily. The Team Rubicon Fort McMurray response is the inaugural mission of TR Canada, and is Team Rubicon’s first international response to date with volunteers participating from all TR organizations across the world. According to McNulty “The performance of our Team Rubicon Canada teammates proves the common skills of veterans make them incredible assets to their communities in times of disaster. We look forward the continued success of Team Rubicon Canada and congratulate them on their first successful mission.”