Fairfield community builds bench that may save lives


WATCH: Kicking off emergency preparedness week a Fairfield community is putting in a bench. Sounds pretty usual, but this one will be a lot more than just somewhere to sit — it may just save lives. Kori Sidaway reports.

On this sunny Saturday, many hands are making light work in Fairfield.

It’s all to build something to sit on.

“It’s not any kind of bench, this is an emergency supply bench,” said Stacy Barter with Building Resilient Neighbourhoods.

The community bench is designed as a neighbourhood hub that will house an emergency kit, filled with necessities this community can share if, or when, disaster strikes.

“Often it’s your neighbors that are the first people that you turn to in the event of an emergency,” said Bartet.

“With a change in climate there’s a lot more extreme weather events that we’re starting to face, so being more prepared together just makes sense.”

The bench will be filled with a first aid kit, water purification and other basic emergency supplies in preparation for future windstorms like the one that knocked out power to thousands this past winter, and the drier summers that threaten water access but maybe even more so, for the “big one.”

“We’re in a high earthquake risk here where you need to know each other and be able to help each other,” said neighbour Bob McKechnie.

“In the case of a disaster like an earthquake, it would be several days or weeks before the city could get around to everybody and we really need to be able to help ourselves.”

With a grant from the city, these neighbours came together to build something that would do just that.

“Giving them something tangible to help design was a really fun and engaging way to think about becoming more prepared,” said design lead Emi Webb.

And this weekend the community is getting together to get their hands dirty and to break bread, laying a solid foundation for whatever comes their way.

“It’s a way to get together to work on something collectively so that we know each other, so that we’ve worked with each other, so that we really can come together when we really need to come together,” said neighbour Ken Prichard.

The bench, complete with a bulletin board and solar-powered phone charging outlets, will be unveiled Sunday at 2 p.m.


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