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Operation Red Nose getting Kamloops home safely

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December 26, 2015 - 9:30 AM

KAMLOOPS - Last year more than 1,200 people got rides home after a night out celebrating and this year the Operation Red Nose coordinator expects to see even more people use the service.

“Every year the service gets more popular,” Katie Klassen says, noting they are hoping for about 30 more volunteers this year. “Last year… out of 12 communities we provided the most rides.”

In 2014, about 220 people helped provide 1,265 rides home under the program, which sends out teams of three people to pick up people and their vehicle after a night out on the town and drive them home.

The service runs from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights from Nov. 27 through Dec. 19 and then Saturday, Dec. 26 and Thursday, Dec. 31.

Volunteers are needed in the office and to help drive.

Escort drivers, with their own vehicle, a designated driver and a navigator are sent out to pick up clients and their vehicles while office volunteers take calls and dispatch the driving teams. Drivers and navigators must be 19 years old while office volunteers must be at least 16 years old.

Volunteers are only required to commit to one full night and can apply at the RCMP detachment on Battle Street. Applicants must bring two pieces of ID and the application includes a criminal record check, which is covered by RCMP.

Kamloops Operation Red Nose began in 1997 and is one of only a handful in the province. Klassen notes the project is big, but worth it.

“We get a lot of calls asking if Kelowna has (a program) and everyone is surprised they don’t,” she says. “It is a big project to take on, but once you get it going it’s so worthwhile.”

The program hopes to increase awareness about impaired driving, provide a safe transportation alternative during the holidays and create awareness about other alternatives available year around. Donations received support amateur athletes in Kamloops through PacificSport.

For more information about the program, including volunteer opportunities and sponsorship, contact Klassen at 250-320-0650 or at kklassen@pacificsport.com.

For a ride call the Operation Red Nose Service Line at 250-372-5110.

Credit: YouTube

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at jstahn@infonews.ca or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2015

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