Emergency Preparedness

Natural disasters, such as interface wildfires floodslandslides, technological or environmental accidents, such as chemical spills; or service disruptions, such as power failures during the winter or severe storms, can strike any community at any time. If you're unprepared for a disaster, it can shatter your life.

Are You Prepared?

Each year, thousands of people face emergency situations that could change their lives forever. Don't be caught off-guard. Know the hazards in your area and take the time now to assemble your family 72 HR GRAB & GO emergency kit. Getting your family prepared for an emergency may seem like a lot of work, but it will be easier if you do a little at a time, as your resources and budget permit. The important thing is to start preparing now. The more you do to prepare, the more confident you will be that you can protect yourself and your family when disaster strikes.

The following PDFs provide detailed information and personal plans to help prepare for flood, fire, or any emergency situation.

Household Preparedness Guide[PDF - 449 KB]
Household Emergency Plan  [PDF - 579 KB]
Neighbourhood Preparedness Guide  [PDF - 438 KB]

FLOODS

Floods are the most frequent natural hazards in Canada, and the most costly in terms of property damage. Floods can occur in any region, in the countryside or in cities. In the past, floods have affected hundreds of thousands of Canadians. They can occur at any time of the year and are most often caused by heavy rainfall, rapid melting of a thick snow pack, ice jams, or more rarely, the failure of a natural or human-made dam. 

Debris Flow Hazard Awareness

For information on debris flow hazard awareness CLICK HERE.  

LANDSLIDES

Landslide is a general term used to describe the down-slope movement of soil, rock and organic materials under the influence of gravity. It also describes the landform that results.

British Columbia's steep, mountainous terrain, its complex geology, its high precipitation, both as rain and snow, its abundance of unconsolidated glacial sediments, and its geographic position astride the earthquake zone that surrounds the Pacific Ocean, all combine to make our province particularly susceptible to landslide activity. In fact, in British Columbia the loss of life and damage to property caused by landslides is greater than losses caused by other natural hazards such as earthquakes and flooding.

As our cities, towns, roads and highways steadily encroach onto steeper slopes and mountainsides, landslide hazards become an increasingly serious threat to life and property. However, by understanding the answers to the following questions, we may be able to lessen the effects of landslides. 

WILDFIRES

To view wildfire that are burning in your area, visit the BC Wildfire Services.  

PREVENT A WILDFIRE FROM THREATENING YOUR HOME


TIPS FOR IN AND AROUND YOUR HOME

  • Clear leaves and other debris from gutters, eaves, porches and decks. This prevents embers from igniting your home.
  • Remove dead vegetation and other items from under your deck or porch, and within 10 feet of the house. Apply FireSmart principles that provide simple measures to protect your home from fire.
  • Screen or box-in areas below patios and decks with wire mesh to prevent debris and combustible materials from accumulating.
  • Remove flammable materials (firewood stacks, propane tanks) within 30 feet of your home’s foundation and outbuildings, including garages and sheds. If it can catch fire, don’t let it touch your house, deck or porch.
  • Wildfire can spread to tree tops. Prune trees so the lowest branches are 6 to 10 feet from the ground.
  • Keep your lawn hydrated and maintained. If it is brown, cut it down to reduce fire intensity. Dry grass and shrubs are fuel for wildfire.
  • Don’t let debris and lawn cuttings linger. Dispose of these items quickly to reduce fuel for fire.
  • Inspect shingles or roof tiles. Replace or repair those that are loose or missing to prevent ember penetration.
  • Cover exterior attic vents with metal wire mesh no larger than 1/8 inch to prevent sparks from entering the home.
  • Enclose under-eave and soffit vents or screens with metal mesh to prevent ember entry.

  The RDCK Fire Services has four structural  protection units (mobile sprinklers) and firefighters trained to operate them. These units  can be deployed to help keep homes safe from the imminent threat of wildfire.

AIR QUALITY

Stay informed with the current air quality at the BC Air Quality site.

Interior Health has helpful information to find out the effects of wildfire smoke.

ROAD CLOSURES

Visit  Drive BC to find out about possible road closures.

EVACUATIONS

In extreme conditions, some people may want to make arrangements to stay with relatives, friends or neighbours. Listen to weather forecasts and instructions from local officials, as reception or warming centres may be set up in your community. Keep an eye out for neighbours who may be at-risk in severe conditions. Always follow the instructions of first responders and local emergency officials.

Ensure a supply of basic essentials in your home for at least 72 hours. If you must leave your home on short notice, remember to take your emergency "grab and go" kit. This should include"

  • Emergency supplies including water and food
  • First aid kit
  • Important documents, cash and family identification

 Evacuation Alert

1) Q: What is the purpose of an evacuation alert?

A: An evaucation alert is a warning about a potential imminent threat to life and property. It is a precautionary measure. It is meant to give affected residents within an impacted area time to prepare in case they are told to evacuate.

If you live outside of the evacuation alert zone but are concerned about the fire situation, you may wish to prepare for possible evacuation or self evacuate. 

2) Q: How to I prepare for an evacuation?

A: Check out the helpful information at the Emergency Info BC government site or Ready for Wildfire site.  In emergency situations, residents in high risk areas should listen to the local media and follow the instructions of local emergency and transportation officials. Prepare ahead by organizing an emergency supply kit with necessary prescription medications, personal toiletries, a change of clothing, insurance papers and other important documents and valuables.

 3) Q: How is the area in the evacuation alert determined?

A: The South East Fire Centre makes a recommendation to the RDCK based on the fire's current status. The boundaries of the zone can change as conditions change. Also, residents outside of the evacuation alert zone may use their own discretion to prepare for an evacuation order or to self evacuate.

4) Q: What if I'm in the evacuation alert zone as identified on maps but I didn't receive a notice from emergency personnel?

A: Please contact the RDCK so that we can verify that you are in the alert zone.  Please call 1-800-268-7325 or email at info@rdck.bc.ca

 Evacuation Order

1) Q: What is an evacuation order?

A: This in an order issued by the RDCK to residents within the affected area that are to leave the area immediately.

If you are evacuated, local officials will provide you with information about the location of a Reception Centre. Everyone must register at the Reception Centre. This ensures that we know you are safe. We can then communicate this infomation to concerned family and friends.

Short term assistance for immediate needs of food, shelter, clothing and emotional support may be available at the Reception Centre. Emergency Social Services volunteers provide assistance to people for the first three days after a disaster. Assistance includes assessment and referral to services you may need, short term help for food, clothing and shelter, emotional support and family reunification.

2) Q: May I return briefly to my home during an evacuation order?

A: ONLY if it's safe to do so and if you have the permission of the local government and emergency personnel. Security will be in place.

3) Q: Where will I stay if I'm evacuated?

A: It is recommended that you find an alternate place to stay with local accomodations, family or friends.  The Reception Centre will be able to provide you with detailed information at the time of the evacuation.

Pets

1) Q: If I'm evacuated, will my pets be taken care of?

A: If you are issued an evacuation alert, prepare by having cages for your pets, as well as food and food/water bowls. Also make sure that your pets are wearing identification. Emergency Social Services will have limited space for evacuated pets. If possible, please arrange to have your pets stay with friends or family. 

For general information on wildfires, please visit the Province of BC's site.

Seven Steps to Cold Weather Safety

Winter weather has arrived in much of the country. Do you know the signs of hypothermia, and what to do if you get frostbite? Read on to make sure you're ready for cold weather.

1) Listen to the weather forecast

POWER OUTAGES

Most power outages will be over almost as soon as they begin, but some can last much longer - up to days or even weeks. Power outages are often caused by freezing rain, sleet storms and/or high winds which damage power lines and equipment. Cold snaps or heat waves can also overload the electric power system

During a power outage, you may be left without heating/air conditioning, lighting, hot water or even running water. If you only have a cordless phone, you will also be left without phone service. If you do not have a battery-powered or crank radio, you may have no way of monitoring news broadcasts. In other words, you could be facing major challenges.

You can greatly lessen the impact of a power outage by taking the time to prepare in advance. You and your family should be prepared to cope on your own during a power outage for at least 72 hours. This involves 3 basic steps:

  1. Finding out on what to do before, during, and after a power outage.
  2. Making a family emergency plan, so that everyone knows what to do, and where to go if you need to leave your home.
  3. Getting an emergency kit, so that you and your family can be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours during a power outage.

To stay notified when a disaster or emergency strikes in the RDCK, sign up for our Emergency Alert Notification System.  Click on the red box below to sign up instantly:

Useful Links

 

The content on this page was last updated June 6 2016 at 9:54 AM