Operation Red Nose is quite the operation

 

It’s beginning to look and feel more like Christmas, thanks to that snow we got on Monday.

Not that I’m a fan of getting a lot of snow, since it needs to be shoveled and it makes the roads . . . interesting, to put it mildly.

It’s also beginning to feel more like Christmas for me personally, because Operation Red Nose kicked off on the weekend.

Well, technically it kicked off the week before when they had an open house and actually got a couple of rides.

But Friday and Saturday were the real start of this year’s campaign.

As I have done for the past few years, I was training up phone operators and making sure that part of the system worked well in joining with the other parts.

It’s been quite a change in technology since I first got involved some years ago in Kamloops. Then, the phone operators filled the form for a ride out by hand, kept one copy and gave the other two to dispatch. Dispatch then radioed one of the teams, they came by the headquarters and picked up their copy, and away they went.

Now, the form is filled out on computer, and it’s a form we have tweaked a few times over the years to make the questions asked by the operator go in a logical flow. Then the form is sent to the queue on the dispatch computer, as well as being printed out, since we do still need a hard copy.

The teams are notified that a new ride is waiting for them, and they get the information on their smartphone.

Of course, there are still a few things we run into each year. To summarize, you have to have a vehicle with you (we’re not a cab company) with valid B.C. license plates (since ICBC covers us, and they can’t work with out-of-province vehicles).

You also can’t call in and request a ride for a specific time, since we don’t know how busy we will be at that time. If you want a ride at a specific time, say 12:30, call just before midnight and ask how long the wait is. If it’s about 30 minutes, make your request.

We also had a call on Saturday which was definitely a case of planning well in advance. The person wanted to book a ride for this coming weekend.

If you are looking to get a ride with Operation Red Nose, we run Friday and Saturday nights until December 16, then December 29, 30 and 31. The number is 250-962-RIDE (7433).