Evacuation order issued for your neighbourhood? Here’s what to do
It’s an amazing number, just how many wildfires occur in B.C. each year.
According to the B.C. Wildfire Service, the yearly provincial average is 1,692. That number is based from a 10-year average, with every year starting on April 1.
This year, the BCWS says there have been 1,374 wildfires up to August 3. While 2018 is 318 fires short of reaching that average, there’s still plenty of fire season left, with summer only half-over.
And that brings us to evacuation alerts and order, byproducts of fire season.
Should a fire break out close to where you live and an evacuation alert or order is issued for your street or neighbourhood, here’s a list of what to do, courtesy of the provincial government:
- 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’ worth of 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 mementoes that cannot be replaced.
- As well, please check in on any family, friends or neighbours who may need a helping hand due to mobility or other issues.
In the event of an evacuation order, you must leave the area immediately. Local authorities will not ask you to leave without good reason, and failing to leave when asked by officials puts yourself and others at risk. 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, as 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 cellphone, 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.
For information on evacuation orders and alerts, visit Emergency Info BC: www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca
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