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Evacuees encouraged to register with Emergency Support Services

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 12:04 PDT, Tue September 13, 2022

People in British Columbia who have been evacuated due to ongoing wildfires and require support services are encouraged to register with Emergency Support Services (ESS).

The province continues to provide support to evacuees through ESS throughout the province. Services provided include food, lodging, clothing, emotional support, and information updates.

Evacuees can register for ESS online or in person at a reception centre. People are also encouraged to pre-register for ESS. To register or pre-register, visit the province's Evacuee Registration and Assistance (ERA) online tool: ess.gov.bc.ca/

Interac E-Transfer may be available for people receiving ESS payments after being evacuated and registering with the online ERA tool. To be eligible for E-Transfer, log in to ERA online with your BC Services Card app and register.

Evacuee reception centres have been established in Fort St. John and the District of Mission for evacuees from the Battleship Creek wildfire and Flood Falls Trail wildfire, respectively.

Wildfire risk across the province remains high and people can prevent wildfires by:

• Following fire bans and restrictions

• Paying close attention to weather and fuel conditions before starting a fire even if fires are allowed at the time

• Practising responsible forest and land use

The wildfire situation is continually evolving. The information below was current as of 5 p.m. (Pacific time) yesterday (Sept. 12).

Evacuations:

• Evacuation orders: four

• Evacuation alerts: nine

Populations (approximate):
• 1,050 people under evacuation order

• 850 people under evacuation alert

• 310 people registered for ESS in Fort St. John

• 21 people registered for ESS in the District of Mission

Orders and alerts by Emergency Management BC region:
• Vancouver Island Central Coast: zero orders, zero alerts

• Northwest: zero orders, zero alerts

* Northeast: two orders, one alert

• Central: zero orders, two alerts

• Southeast: zero orders, one alert

• Southwest: two orders, five alerts

In the event an evacuation alert 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: 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, medicine or prescriptions, comfort items for children—like a favourite toy or colouring books to help keep them busy—and items for pets including leashes, carriers, and pet food. Consider collecting precious photos and mementoes that can't be replaced, and ensure your vehicle has fuel.

• If you will require support in the event of an evacuation order, pre-register for Emergency Support Services online using the province's Evacuee Registration and Assistance (ERA) online tool: ess.gov.bc.ca/

As well, 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 to 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 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.

For information on evacuation orders and alerts, as well as a list of reception centres, visit Emergency Info BC: emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca/current-wildfire-information-2/

Keep up to date on the provincial wildfire situation: bcwildfire.ca

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