CTV recently aired a great video to promote Operation Red Nose (ORN). Santa tries to blame his rum breath on the rum balls! This got me thinking about ORN, I know you can call and get a free ride home, but logistically how does this happen and is free really free?
I called Marie-Chantal Fortin of ORN BC, who is also the National Development Officer. ORN is a road safety campaign that operates about nine nights a year. It advocates a safe ride home, whether it is transit, taxi, designated driver, staying at a friend’s or calling ORN.
In 2010 there are 12 communities across BC involved in the program and each is run by a host non-profit organization. Although the program is free, each host organization accepts donations with 100% of the funds staying in the local community for youth and amateur sports programs.
In the four nights that have operated in 2010, ORN-BC has provided 2156 rides. The staggering statistic is that this takes 1500 volunteers to pull off. Each call to ORN dispatches three volunteers: volunteer driver, a navigator who rides in back with the client and the escort driver to pick up the other two volunteers. The only requirement of the program is you must have a vehicle. This is not a taxi service but a driver volunteer service. In 2009, ORN-BC provided 6020 rides with 3500 volunteers. “It is a bit busier this year with about 100 more rides an evening”, reports Ms. Fortin.
One of my favorite sayings is “the more the merrier.” The more drunk drivers off the road, the better. Many of the community chapters also provide personal or corporate Christmas party sponsorship packages. With a donation from the host or corporation, you can register your event with ORN and they will provide display kits including wallet cards to provide for your party attendees. This makes it so easy for people to get home safe.
This program is a win-win for everyone. The dedicated volunteers make our BC roads safer, the driver gets home safely and local youth gets some much-needed cash. Turn on your red nose this year and volunteer in your community. Better yet, if your community is not participating in ORN, make it a mission to start one for 2011.
The partners and staff at Klein Lawyers wish you a safe holiday season and a happy new year.
ORN Participating Communities: Abbotsford/Mission, Chilliwack, Comox Valley, Delta / Richmond, Kamloops, Langley-Surrey, Nanaimo, North Shore, Prince George, Ridge-Meadows, Tri-cities and Williams Lake.
2010 Dates: Nov. 26, Dec. 3, Dec. 4, 10, 11, 17, 18 and New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31).