Operation Red Nose delivered 242 rides over the course of two nights on Friday, Dec. 16 and Saturday, Dec. 17 which brings its overall total of rides for 2016 to 662.
On Friday, 77 volunteers, including 21 road teams of three braved the -20C temperatures and provided 102 rides, travelling 2,988 km.
In comparison, in 2015, it gave 117 rides on the same night in 2015, 118 in 2014 and 82 in 2013. There were more than enough teams on hand to reach everyone who needed a ride.
On Saturday, there were 86 volunteers, including 23 teams who provided 144 rides, travelling 3,836 km. In comparison, there were 165 rides delivered in 2015 and 171 in 2014.
There were wait times of 30 minutes to reach some clients but we eventually caught up to the back log.
Three people are OK after an accident that occurred Saturday night. It happened during a ride when a designated driver was driving two clients home in a truck and slid down an embankment near Chief Lake Road and Highway 97.
The roads were icy and snow-covered with light snow falling. A passenger was taken to hospital by BC Ambulance as a precaution and later released. The two other people – the other client and the designated driver – in the truck were fine. All three people were wearing seat belts. The truck suffered extensive damage.
RCMP, BC Ambulance and Prince George Fire Rescue all attended the scene.
“This the first time an accident of this kind has occurred in our 19-year history after nearly 12,000 rides,” said Operation Red Nose spokesperson Andrea Johnson. “We are grateful that everyone is OK.”
Operation Red Nose Prince George organizers and the clients followed all necessary procedures afterwards, including talking to police and rescue crews and filing claims with ICBC. An incident report was also filed immediately to the Operation Red Nose national office in Quebec City.
As well, Monday, Dec. 19 is the deadline for anyone who wants to volunteer for New Year’s Eve. Operation Red Nose currently has 26 teams available and that is not enough to meet the demand expected on a night where it delivers 200 rides or more. Operation Red Nose is looking for at least 45 more volunteers for that night.
Volunteers, who must be 19 years old and have a valid driver’s license, can apply online at www.ornpg.ca, fill out the application form and drop it off at the RCMP detachment downtown. The application also includes a Criminal Record Check.