I can remember watching the news that night – May 4th 2016. Fort McMurray was on fire. I knew the landscape from a business trip the year before – there is one road — you go north or you go south but you all go on one road. My heart was in my mouth watching the largest peace time evacuation in Canadian history occuring.
Then my mobile rang.
It was 8 pm – I answered and it was one my customers. They provide an emergency service for events like Fort Mac. They were calling for help because situation had escalated so rapidly – and they had found my direct number. They needed to have a virtual callcentre set up immediately – could we help. My team worked regular business hours.
But I found one of team members online and I asked for her help. She immediately agreed to assist our customer. Our solution would help to connect the evacuees with information for aid, help to connect them to families and document that they were safe from the fire.
My five member national team volunteered to work around the clock to ensure that the residents of Fort Mac had a number to call and a solution to provide information. They balanced this emergency with their other work and never skipped a beat.
In the moment there was no realization from our leadership that our service was underpinning the disaster’s communication link. The team was motivated by the opportunity to make a difference – which we did.