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

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Council talks trash: New garbage bylaw in the works

Draft bylaw to be voted on at Monday, May 25 council meeting

UPDATE: Police oversight agency investigating after shots fired Saturday night in Chilliwack neighbourhood

RCMP reported a ‘distraught male’ fired at police officers on Christina Drive – IIO is on scene Sunday

Prospera Credit Union, Westminster Savings lay off over 100 staff following historic merge

2020 merger was largest credit-union merger in Canadian history

‘Service beyond the classroom’: Gerry Palmer wins UFV award

Palmer has been involved with UFV for more than 30 years, starting as an instructor

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

‘Not a joke’: Promoter wants to rocket-launch man the length of White Rock pier

Brooke Colby says he’s building an eight-foot rocket in his backyard

RCMP confirm man dead in Chilliwack shooting incident

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

Boy, 2, left with ‘soft tissue injuries’ after being hit by car in Squamish intersection

Boy was release from hospital, police continue to investigate

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Most Read