Help get party-goers home during the holidays

Operation Red Nose launches its 2019 campaign and calls for volunteers to drive, navigate and dispatch

Operation Red Nose, the annual drive-safe home program that runs during the Christmas holidays and on New Year’s Eve, launched today (Monday).

And organizers for the Tri-Cities, New Westminster and Burnaby group are calling on the community to help the cause and raise cash for KidSport.

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Volunteer and escort drivers as well as navigators and a headquarters crew (to operate the phones and dispatch) are sought for Nov. 29 and 30 plus Dec. 6, 7, 13, 14, 20 and 21 and on New Year’s Eve on Dec. 31.

The service is open from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. from the ICBC claims centre on Blue Mountain Street in Coquitlam. Escort drivers are reimbursed for fuel.

Spokesperson Chris Wilson, who is also a Coquitlam city councillor, said more than 150 volunteers joined the campaign over the nine nights last year — many of whom were building their resumes for future careers in policing or firefighting. Another 50 are needed for this year’s effort.

“The more we have, the more we can promote the program,” Wilson said.

In 2018, a total of 3,166 ORN volunteers in B.C. gave 5,204 rides to get people and their vehicles home, collecting $159,600 for local charities.

Wilson said ORN doesn’t anticipate an impact with ride-hailing services due to start next year in B.C. “We’ve been told in the Montreal area, where Uber has been operating for two years, that there hasn’t been a dramatic change,” he said, noting people may only want to pay for one way and see their bucks go to a non-profit instead of a business.

In the Tri-Cities, revellers who want to use Operation Red Nose for their nights out can call 778-866-6673 or download the mobile app via ICBC.

“We’ve been a proud partner of Operation Red Nose in B.C. for more than 20 years,” said Aileen Shibata, ICBC’s road safety program manager, in a news release. “Our roads are safer for everyone because of these types of community programs and the dedicated volunteers.”

To apply to be an Operation Red Nose volunteer, download an application form via opeationrednose.com; criminal record checks are also required from RCMP or police. Visit operationrednosetricities.com.

 

 

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