Wildfires usually occur from May to September and can cause extensive damage and put lives in danger. The best way to protect yourself and your family in the event of a wildfire is to follow these steps:
- Stay informed by reviewing the following:
- Monitor the weather
- Listen to local authorities
- Prepare to evacuate
- Keep your vehicle fueled
- Follow instructions to evacuate, bring your emergency kit.
- Only re-enter your home when instructed by Officials/Community Leaders
Assemble An Emergency Supply Kit
Please put together your emergency supply kit before embarking on your assignment. Keep it easily accessible so that you can quickly grab it in the event that you need to evacuate. Your emergency supply kit should contain the following items:
- 3 day supply of non-perishable food and 3 gallons of water per person
- Map marked with at least two evacuation routes
- Prescription/Special medications
- Eyeglasses/Contact lenses
- Extra set of car keys, credit cards, cash or travelers cheques
- First Aid kit
- Battery powered radio and spare batteries
- Sanitation supplies
- Important documents such as birth certificates, passports, etc.
- Cell phone chargers
Please call 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on your cell if you spot smoke, flames or an unattended campfire.
If a wildfire threatens your home, you may receive an evacuation alert or order. It is important to understand the difference between an evacuation order and an evacuation alert.
Evacuation Order: You are at risk and need to leave the area immediately. You are encouraged to register all family members at the nearest reception centre so emergency responders know you are safe.
Evacuation Alert: Be ready to leave on short notice. This is the time to gather your emergency supply kit and ensure your vehicle has fuel. If you leave before or during this alert, it is called a voluntary evacuation.
Evacuation Rescinded: All is currently safe, and you can return home. Stay tuned for other possible evacuation alerts or orders.
What To Do Before A Wildfire:
- The key to staying safe is to prepare and to have an emergency plan in place.
- Tune in to radio or local news channels, and/or follow your local news outlet and emergency officials on social media for possible wildfire alerts.
Be sure to check: Government of Canada’s Canadian Wildland Fire Information System. This is a fire management information system that monitors fire danger conditions across Canada. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it includes an interactive fire map and up-to-date reports on the fire situation across Canada (Canadian Red Cross, 2019).
What To Do During A Wildfire:
- Be prepared to evacuate at any time. If told to evacuate, do so ASAP.
- Monitor local radio stations for up to date information on the fire and possible road closures.
- Park your car, positioned forward out of the driveway. Keep car windows closed and have your valuables ready to be packed in your car should you need to evacuate.
- If you do not evacuate, close all windows and doors in the house to reduce smoke and debris entering your home. Follow instructions on how to minimize fire damage.
- Move all combustibles away from the house, including firewood and lawn furniture. Move any propane barbeques into the open, away from structures (Canadian Red Cross, 2019).
What To Do After A Wildfire:
- Always take precautions and listen to directions from local authorities.
- Only re-enter your home if you are authorized by officials to do so.
- Contact Solutions Staffing or the facility if you cannot stay in your home/accommodations due to fire damage.
- Use caution when entering burned areas as there may be hazards, including hot spots, that can flare up without warning.
- Ensure your food and water is safe. Discard any food that may have been exposed to heat, smoke or soot, and do not use any water that may be contaminated.
- Please wear protective hear, including boots, safety glasses and rubber gloves when cleaning (Canadian Red Cross, 2019).
For more information regarding how to prepare for wildfire, and information regarding the current wildfire activity, please review the links below:
- Canadian Red Cross, (2019). Wildfires: Before, During & After. Accessed at: https://www.redcross.ca/how-we-help/emergencies-and-disasters-in-canada/types-of-emergencies/wildfires. Date Accessed: 22/05/2019.
- Government of British Columbia, (2019). Get Prepared for a Wildfire in British Columbia. Accessed at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/preparedbc/know-your-hazards/wildfires. Date Accessed: 22/05/2019.