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

Tour recognizes Prince Rupert’s rich labour history

Epic story of the Battle of Kelly’s Cut put Rupert on the labour radar

Rio Tinto responds to U.S. aluminum import tariffs

The tariffs were imposed by President Donald Trump Aug. 6

Coastal GasLink breaks ground on meter station in Kitimat

Meter station marks final point on pipeline that stretches from Northeast B.C.

Oily rain runoff down the drain causes concern for Prince Rupert residents

Immediate action taken to alleviate any concerns, road paving contractor said.

B.C. fish harvesters receive long-awaited details on pandemic benefits

Applications to the $470-million federal assistance programs will open Aug. 24

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Most Read