Flooding in Grand Forks, May 2018. (Grand Forks Gazette)

B.C. prepares for emergencies, evacuations under COVID-19

Digital registration for evacuees, new wildfire app launched

In an average year, 30,000 B.C. residents need emergency aid such as lodging, food and clothing to escape from flooding, wildfires and other natural disasters.

In the year of COVID-19, those people will be able to register for the Emergency Support Services online, after successful pilot projects in the spring and summer of 2019, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says.

“Moving from an archaic paper-based system to a digital platform will ensure safe and timely access to services for those who need help during some of their hardest moments,” Farnworth announced May 5. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual delivery of Emergency Support Services is more important than ever to ensure safe physical distancing for volunteers and evacuees.”

The registration system was used at Prince George, the Regional District of Central Okanagan, Kamloops and Tk’emlups te Secwepemc, and is being expanded over the next year to go beyond registration of evacuees to providing direct emergency payments to evacuees and suppliers.

The system is vital to retaining volunteers, said David Trawn, administrator of the City of Kamloops.

“The new virtual registration system for emergency supports allows us to keep all of our ESS volunteers,” Trawn said. “The majority of these volunteers are seniors, and more than half said they would not be available if registration was paper-based and face-to-face interaction was required. It would have crippled us if we needed evacuations for floods and fire.”

RELATED: 2017 Elephant Hill fire likely caused by smoking

RELATED: Reopening B.C. will be done safely, slowly, Dr. Henry says

For the 2020 wildfire season, the province has also launched a smartphone app to extend its communication beyond the B.C. Wildfire Service website and social media channels. The app provides mobile access to evacuation alerts and orders, a wildfire map, fire danger ratings, active fires, perimeters of active fires and those that have been declared extinguished.

The app has a “near me” function that can be selected to display information within a 50 km radius of the user’s current location, and a “report a fire” function that generates map coordinates of the user’s location.

The B.C. Wildfire Service mobile app is available for Apple and Android phones and devices and is free to download.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislaturebc wildfiresCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Recycling services in Queen Charlotte, Port Clements expanding next week

Residential plastics will be accepted again, but most residential transfer stations remain closed

‘At least they’re safe:’ Arrival of new Syrian refugee family to Haida Gwaii delayed due to COVID-19

Operation Refugees says family stuck in Lebanon with no flights, ‘but at least they’re safe’

‘Good news:’ Council of the Haida Nation releases guidelines for expanding social circles

Next steps also say outdoor spaces such as parks, playgrounds, trails may be reopening for day use

Gudangaay Tlaats’gaa Naay wins ‘Most Outstanding School’ award

B.C. School Sports will present school with banner, add GTN to plaque as winners of 2019-2020 year

‘A time of transition:’ CHN looking to release next steps of pandemic response this week

State of local emergency is in effect; Gaagwiis says CHN developing indicators to guide next steps

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Greater Victoria drive-thru window smashed after man receives burger without mustard

Greater Victoria Wendy’s staff call police after man allegedly rips Plexiglas barrier off window

Most Read