The 2021 wildfire season has arrived early in BC with devastating consequences. Wildfires can start easily and spread quickly. Knowing what to do in an emergency is critical to ensuring the health and safety of your community members and protecting your critical infrastructure. For more details please visit: www.fnha.ca/about/news-and-events/news/wildfire-emergency-contacts-and-supports-2021
If you are evacuated and need assistance…
1. Go to your nearest evacuation reception centre
The reception centre will be listed on your evacuation order.
For an up-to-date list of evacuation alerts and orders, or information on how to find a reception centre, call the provincial Emergency Support Services line at 1-800-585-9559 or go to emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca/wildfires-2021. The support line is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
2. Register for Emergency Support Services
People who are on evacuation alert or ordered to evacuate can register to receive Emergency Support Services from the Province of BC. If your local emergency program asks you to self-register, you can do it easily using the Evacuation Registration Assistance tool at ess.gov.bc.ca. It’s important to register even if you don’t need accommodation.
Help to Reunite with Loved Ones and Family Members
If you are looking for someone that has been impacted or displaced by wildfires, or you want your loved ones to know that you are okay, call the Canadian Red Cross Family Reunification line at 1-800-863-6582. This service is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.
FNHA Environmental Health Officers
The FNHA’s Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) can support communities to navigate emergency wildfire response pathways and access supplies and services. Community leaders are encouraged to contact their Regional EHO between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. After-hours support is also available. Find your local EHO at fnha.ca/what-we-do/environmental-health.
Air Cleaning and Clean Air Shelters
The FNHA has a limited number of portable air cleaners / purifiers available for First Nations people who are at high risk of illness from wildfire smoke.
For more information, and for advice on how to create clean air shelters for people affected by smoke, visit fnha.ca/wildfire. FNHA Environmental Health Officers are available to support the development of clean air shelters. They are currently contacting all impacted First Nations. Contact your local Emergency Health Officer through the FNHA Regional Office with any questions. For the latest air quality readings in the province, visit bcairquality.ca/readings.
In times of extreme or extended periods of above average temperatures, communities can set up cooling centers in local common spaces. These are usually set up as needed and are advertised on local channels, such as social media, town webpages, newspapers and community information boards.
If you need to find a cooling center, please contact the community center or band office nearest to you.
Highways Conditions and Road Closures
To check if routes are clear for travel, follow @DriveBC on Twitter or visit drivebc.ca.
Wellness and Mental Health Supports
There is unique trauma to First Nations regarding wildfire evacuations, which goes beyond loss of home or cherished valuables. The Okanagan Nation Response Team, Sәx kәnxit әlx “Those Who Help” is a team of community members who have received extensive training in the areas of suicide education, community mobilization, and critical incident response.
Charlotte Whitehead, ONRT Senior Coordinator
The FNHA is committed to keeping access open to health benefits and services.
Many people displaced by fires may have lost access to life-sustaining health services, including medications. To contact Health Benefits about coverage for health and wellness services, medical transportation or medical supplies and equipment, call 1-855-550-5454 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.
For more information on health and wellness supports for evacuees, please visit fnha.ca/wildfire.
For non-emergency health information and services visit HealthLinkBC.ca or call 8-1-1 toll-free, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
If you are having a health emergency, dial 9-1-1 or a local emergency contact number immediately.
- Latest News from the BC’s Wildfire Management Branch: http://bcwildfire.ca/
- Review the Wildfires of Note regularly for the latest updates: http://bcwildfire.ca/hprScripts/WildfireNews/OneFire.asp
- Take note of the daily Fire Danger Rating Map issued by the Wildfire Management Branch: http://bcwildfire.ca/Weather/Maps/danger_rating.htm
- To find Air Quality Advisories issues by the BC Ministry of Environment: http://www.bcairquality.ca/
- For additional resources on Wildland Fire Preparedness, Prevention, and Current Situations, please visit EMBC’s Wildland Fire Information: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery
- For information regarding Emergency Management Preparedness for individuals and families, visit Public Safety Canada’s website: http://www.getprepared.gc.ca