CSL State of Emergency aims to limit spread of virus

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Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein has been extremely active in putting into action decisive measures to mitigate risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic. CSL has been an early actor to declare a State of Emergency and in shutting down municipal services and facilities. The mayor has been communicating on an urgent basis with residents through its mass calling system.

Leading a city is difficult enough during normal times. During a crisis this is especially true. I was deeply involved in every CSL disaster for the last 40 years and playing a leadership role as City Councillor for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. Ice Storm, power failures, home fires, apartment evacuation and underpass floods. CSL has been a leader in emergency measures for decades and is known across the region for its outstanding emergency services and readiness plans.

Currently, I am neck deep (and at times over my head) heading up communication efforts for the West-Central Montreal health authority, which includes the Jewish General Hospital as well as CSL’s Mount Sinai Hospital Centre, Maimonides and CLSC Rene Cassin. My team has been in crisis response mode for almost two weeks. More on that in another post.

Our all-volunteer EMS is unique throughout Quebec offering a 24/7 rapid response to medical emergencies. These life-saving volunteers are deserving of praise on ordinary days. What they are facing now, in keeping us safe, is nothing short of heroic.

Our volunteer Citizens on Patrol provides an extra layer of protection across the community. These 90 volunteers give us a sense of comfort and peace of mind as they circulate up and down every street in our city, watching over us and our property and acting as an early warning system to police, fire, ambulance, Hydro Quebec, public works and more.

Out of abundant concern for its older volunteers, many of whom are over 70 years old, the city has decided to halt this service for an indefinite period. This policy is unfortunate as there are still plenty of younger volunteers ready to do what is necessary and others in the community prepared to offer their time and to be trained to help their community in patrolling with vCOP. Our residents need to see these brightly identified patrollers, especially during times of crisis.

Fortunately, Public Security continues its patrols with professional agents around the clock.

The ill-advised and poorly communicated merger of police stations should be shelved for this year. Our populations and its leaders are poised in another direction and this is not the time for structural reorganization.

Emergency communications is a vital lifeline to our residents. CSL has a superb outbound calling platform that it has begun using during this crisis. The latest call from Mayor Brownstein succinctly and accurately describes the severity of the situation ordering snowbirds to stay home for 14 days and religious communities not to congregate at this time.

Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein warns seniors to “stay at home” on CBC National News

As well, the mayor’s continuous presence in local and national media and the city’s declaration of a State of Emergency (by video hook up of City Council) has helped to focus attention on crucial preparation procedures such as self-isolation and shuttering religious and retail facilities.

Beth Chabad Cote Saint-Luc shuttered, along with all religious other institutions

It will be vital to the overall health of each and everyone of us, those around us and all across the country to heed the warnings and to prepare. It’s not too late.

New director takes control at CSL Public Safety

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Philip Chateauvert

Philip Chateauvert is assuming command of the Cote Saint-Luc Public Safety Department. Public Safety includes five divisions of professional staff and volunteers: Public Security, Emergency Communications (Dispatch), Emergency Medical Services, volunteer Citizens on Patrol and Emergency Preparedness.

Chateauvert spent the last five years as manager of Public Safety. He takes over from Jordy Reichson who recently moved on after a 10 year run as Public Safety Director. Reichson was an energetic and creative leader in this field with a passion for matters of community and personal safety. He has taken on the responsibility of managing the security of all City of Montreal buildings and facilities.

Chateauvert has distinguished himself as an affable colleague of staff and volunteers. He is also very interested in teaching which he continues to do in the field of security management at two CEGEPs, La Cité collégial Ottawa and Gerald Godin in the West Island.

He also directed medical operations in various major events such as the Thriatlon International de Montréal and the Montreal Marathon.

Previously, Chateauvert had five years of experience as a security manager in various organizations such as the Port of Montreal, the École de Technologie Supérieure and the Société de la Place des Arts. Before that he was a firefighter.

I was fortunate to serve as City Councillor responsible for Public Safety from Chateauvert’s beginning in Cote Saint-Luc. He was an excellent addition to the city’s ranks who gained the respect and appreciation of his crews.

Philip Chateauvert

I recently asked Chateauvert what inspires him most about his job?

“Undoubtedly, to have the opportunity to have an even greater impact on our ability to help the community by making it safer,” he said. “Very few managers can say that as part of their work they have the opportunity to put in place policies and procedures that can save lives,” Chateauvert added proudly. “This is my greatest motivation.”

And what are Chateauvert’s highs and lows?

“Anytime I feel like I made a difference in someone else’s life is a great day for me. Lucky enough, this happens quite often in our line of work,” he said.

“However, facing the death and grief of our patients’ families is certainly the most difficult part to see,” said Chateauvert.

And what plans does Chateauvert have as he assumes control as director?

” I plan to continue to give my 110% to find ways to prevent even more crimes, save more lives and make Cote Saint-Luc an even safer place!”

I wish much luck and success to Director Philip Chateauvert.

vCOP celebrates Bar Mitzvah

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Enough cake to feed nearly 100 volunteers

It wasn’t your ordinary Bar Mitzvah celebration but vCOPs by the dozens showed up to celebrate the 13th birthday of their community-minded organization, Cote Saint-Luc’s volunteer Citizens on Patrol.

From a handful of volunteers, a single patrol vehicle and a lot of spirit and dedication the group has grown tremendously over the years since I launched it back on July 1, 2006. (Search vCOP in this blog for the history and photos).

Susie and Harvey Schwartz were among the first 10 volunteers to sign up. They’ve since patrolled thousands of kilometers along the streets of Cote Saint-Luc.

Today, nearly 100 volunteers routinely don their orange polo tops and bright yellow jackets and patrol our city in four marked vehicles as well as on electric scooters, bikes and on foot patrol.

Mayor Brownstein and his wife Elaine joined me at the vCOP celebration to cheer on our amazing volunteers

vCOP is a one of a kind organization. There’s nothing like it throughout Quebec. Well structured, highly organized, discipline and training throughout the ranks, the group is a shining example of what hard work, dedication and determination of a corps of supervisors and patrollers can do in augmenting the safety of an entire community.

Dedicated supervisors and patrollers flank the mayor and councillor responsible for public safety, Oren Sebag

The event, a barbecue to celebrate the summer season (despite the cold air!), was held in the Lawrence Bergman Chalet of Trudeau Park. Several councillors dropped by as well as a sizable corps of police officers from Neighbourhood Station 9 and volunteers from Cote Saint-Luc Emergency Medical Services. There were public security officers on hand as well as the management team of Philip Chateauvert and Jean-Marc Dubois in addition to former director Jordy Reichson.

L-R: Supv. David Goldsmith, Fmr. Dir. Jordy Reichson, Susie Schwartz, Chief Philip Chateauvert, Supv. Elaine Meunier, Mgr. Jean-Marc Dubois, Fmr. Cllr & vCOP Founder Glenn J. Nashen, Supv. Phil Mayman, Supv. Mitchell Herf

When you see the vCOP patrols ride by give them a thumbs up and offer a word of thanks. If you see them stopping in for a coffee at McDonald’s why not pay it forward and pick up their snack tab. They will appreciate the gesture and you’ll feel great doing so.

Thank you to all of our vCOP crews. You are wonderful volunteers who deserve much appreciation. Here’s to another great 13 years together!

Bert Rabinovitch: The Passing of a vCOP

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Bert Rabinovitch
The members of the Cote Saint-Luc Citizens on Patrol (vCOP) are deeply saddened that one of our volunteers, Bert Rabinovitch, passed away on Sunday, May 19, 2019.

Bert, who since 2017, served as a supervisor of the Membership & Training division, was dedicated to not only strengthening the training program, but to bettering the vCOP organization for all its members. Bert had also demonstrated his leadership and passion in managing the Smoke Detector Program, assisting in the training of its members as well as providing detailed reports on the program’s coverage and success. Bert’s efforts and contribution to vCOP will continue to live on in the new members he taught, as well as in the veterans he coached. An active member for almost 10 years, he will be dearly missed by his numerous patrol partners and friends. 

Like everyone else who volunteered with Bert, you could clearly see how very proud he was to wear the vCOP uniform and “give back” to the Cote Saint-Luc community.

In a posted statement, the vCOP supervisors and membership extended heartfelt condolences to Bert’s family and friends.

Mayor Mitchell Brownstein had the following to say about Bert: “Bert was a longtime volunteer with vCOP who took on a leadership role mustering his years of management consulting experience. His passing is a loss to the organization, and to his many vCOP friends who will miss him. I extend my deepest condolences to his family.”

I had known Bert for the last 10 years and spent many hours around the leadership table with him discussing ways to develop the organization and how best to use Bert’s vast skills in management and presentations. Together, we created the Smoke Detector Brigade which he attended to annually with gusto. He was a very dedicated member and leader. He will be missed.

The funeral takes place on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at 10:00 AM at Paperman and Sons. vCOP members traditionally attend funerals of members and past members wearing their uniform to honour the departed for their dedication and contribution to the vCOP organization.  For more information, please click here.
L-R: vCOP Ron Yarin and Bert Rabinovitch (Photo: Glenn J. Nashen, 2015)
Bert Rabonovitch , front row, 3rd from right, as seen in this June 2017 photo with vCOP officers, and Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and Glenn J. Nashen, vCOP Founder and City Councillor for Public Safety (Photo: City of Cote Saint-Luc)

Why you must have a carbon monoxide detector in your house

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According to the Cote Saint-Luc fire safety webpage, Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas that is toxic in high concentrations or over extended periods of exposure. It is a by-product of incomplete combustion (burning). If you heat by wood, oil or gas, or cook by wood or gas, if your hot water is heated by gas, if you have an indoor gas operated grill, etc., then there is a risk of exposure and an investment in a carbon monoxide detector is highly recommended.

Ideally, you should install one on the same level as the bedrooms, on the ceiling of the common corridor serving those bedrooms. An additional unit is strongly recommended in the area where the potential source of carbon monoxide is situated (furnace room or family room fireplace, etc.).

Cote Saint-Luc has required smoke alarms in homes for decades. Our volunteer Citizen on Patrol Smoke Detector Brigade does hundreds of home visits every years to ensure the safety of residents.

vCOP Smoke Detector Brigade goes door to door inspecting mandatory smoke detectors and will go so far as to install a new one (Photo: Martin Chamberland, La Presse)

The time has come to adopt a municipal bylaw in Cote Saint-Luc requiring at least one CO detector in every house, regardless of the year it was built. These devices are cheap and readily available at hardware stores and pharmacies, easy to install (many simply plug in) and alert you once the device has expired in 7-10 years. They also save lives.

Today’s tragic incident in Cote Saint-Luc is a grim reminder of the consequences of carbon monoxide.

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CO poisoning suspected in CSL

CSL seniors who died in their home were pleasant, quiet neighbours

 

vCOP fills the hall, Suburban chief thanks the troops

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Photo courtesy David Goldsmith

A capacity crowd of 80 Cote Saint-Luc volunteer Citizens on Patrol members filled the council chamber at city hall this week to hear the Suburban Newspaper’s editor-in-chief Beryl Wajsman speak on a wide range of topics, but mostly on the political landscape in Quebec. Wajsman was raw and uncensored, swinging wildly, particularly at provincial politicians. The considerably knowledgeable and articulate speaker was unscripted in his gashing assault against the political elite who he described as unconcerned about the citizenry and focused solely on attaining power by saying whatever was necessary to secure votes.

Against this negative backdrop Wajsman described CSL mayor Mitchell Brownstein as unique in his “openness and accessibility”. You can meet with Mitch or call him anytime. He answers his own phone, Wajsman said. “He cares and it shows.”

Beryl Wajsman addresses the vCOP corps of volunteers

But Wajsman’s ultimate compliment was saved for the volunteers in their bright yellow uniform jackets and orange polo tops. You are the true examples of what it means to be a community, to care for your neighbour and to help people who really need your help, he said. He congratulated the vCOP members for their service to the elderly, to all residents.

“I truly enjoyed speaking to a very special gathering of some of the most engaged citizens around. The CSL Volunteer Corps of Citizens on Patrol. The only one of its kind on the island (actually the only one in Quebec) and they cover every sector where the 33,000 residents of CSL live. Great Q&A too,” Wajsman posted to his Facebook page

Long-serving volunteers Susie and Harvey Schwartz

vCOP meets every other month to refresh on protocols and procedures, learn new skills and techniques and to hear from community leaders and experts in public safety. They are a dedicated and energetic group that give of their time, day and night, to safeguard the community. Once again, I salute CSL’s men and women in yellow and orange.

Video: Acceptance speech at D’Arcy McGee Citizenship Medals 2018 Ceremony

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D’Arcy McGee Medal of Citizenship of the National Assembly goes to…, Nashen Notes

D’Arcy McGee medals awarded, The Suburban

The Late Gerry Weinstein among citizenship medal recipients, Canadian Jewish News

 

 

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