Communities across British Columbia are being evacuated due to wildfires.
Residents in the affected areas are urged to prepare to be evacuated in case of an emergency order or alert.
The Government of BC has information on how to prepare for an evacuation on their website.
In these circumstances the most important thing to do is remain calm, listen to public officials and stay up-to-date with current information or processes.
If an alert of evacuation order is issued for your area:
- Prepare to leave your home on short notice.
- Stay tuned to your local authority’s public information channels, as well as Emergency Info BC for updates: http://www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca/
- Have your emergency kit and important documents ready to go, which should include things like insurance and personal papers such as birth certificates. You should also pack:
- Several days’ clothing.
- For your children, comfort items, like a favourite toy or colouring books to help keep them busy.
- For your pets, leashes, carriers and pet food.
- Consider collecting precious photos and mementos that can’t be replaced.
Also remember to check on family members, friends or neighbours who may need help or transportation.
In the event of an evacuation order you must immediately leave the area.
Failing to leave can put yourself, your loved ones and others and harms way.
When an evacuation order is issued:
- Wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes to help protect you from unforeseen hazards.
- Collect family members or go to the place designated in your family plan as a meeting place.
- Plan to take your pets with you; do not leave them behind. Because pets are not permitted in public shelters, follow your plan to go to a relative or friend’s home, or find a “pet-friendly” hotel.
- Grab your emergency kit and follow the directions to the identified reception centre.
- Follow the routes specified by emergency officials. Avoid shortcuts – they could take you to a blocked or dangerous area.
- Take critical items already in your kit (medicine, purse, wallet and keys).
- Take your pets in kennels or on a leash.
- Close all doors and windows. Close and latch gates, but do not lock them.
- Take a cell phone if you have one.
- If there is time and it is safe to do so, shut off water at the main line into your home, and switch off electricity at the breaker panel. Leave natural gas service ‘on’.
- Stay well away from any downed power lines.
- If you go to an evacuation centre, sign up with the registration desk so you can be contacted or reunited with your family and loved ones.
- Contact your out-of-area emergency contact (identified in your personal emergency plan) to let them know what has happened, that you are okay, and how to contact you. Alert them to any separated family members.
Your local authority officials will advise you when it’s safe to return home.
Information surrounding these wildfires can be found at www.bcwildfire.ca.
Emergency information can be found at www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca.
Please drive carefully and pay attention to detours. Information about road closures and conditions can be found at www.drivebc.ca.