Langley firefighter heading to Philippines as part of Canadian team

Justin Law has packed his bag with shoes, sandals, towels, plenty of medications – everything needed for a vacation to southeast Asia.

There’s a few other things he’ll be carrying though.

“We’ll be bringing generators, lots of medication, our inflatable hospital, a water purification system,” he says. “There’s going to be no power, no electricity, no running water. Everything we have we’ll be bringing ourselves.”

Law, a Langley firefighter, is one of 10 Canadians heading to the Philippines as part of the Canadian Medical Assistance Team. They’ll be arriving on Tuesday and providing care to victims near the city of Ormoc. It’s one of many cities still waiting for help after the devastating impact of Typhoon Haiyan, which has killed over 4,000 people.

“A hospital there was destroyed, so we’ll be heading out to set one up,” says Law. “We’ll be doing a lot of initial treatment and triage.”

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Law first became involved with CMAT after the massive Haiti earthquake of 2010.

“The rewarding feeling you get of just being able to help, that you’re able to provide something, that was such a good experience that I wanted to go again,” he says.

He knows that the initial work of setting up the hospital will be arduous. His team has been told to expect 12-16 hours days even after setting up the hospital. But Law, who only found out he was going on Friday, says he’ll be drawing upon the strength of his fellow workers and his friends back home.

“It’s knowing we’re doing something good,” he says. “I’ve got a lot of support from guys I work with at home. It’s not easy to pick up and leave in such short notice, but they’re so helpful in picking up shifts.

“I hope we can do something really good. I hope we can see a lot of people and help a lot of people.”

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