Authorities issue evacuation alerts and orders to protect you and your family. They should be followed so firefighting and emergency crews can concentrate suppressing wildfires, and protecting the entire community in danger of a potential spreading wildfire.
Here are some tips found directly at emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca on how to prepare and what to do if an evacuation alert or order has been issued.
Stay calm. Listen to the alert broadcast or instructions given to you by authorities and write down the exact evacuation route to the emergency centre. A short cut could leade to danger.
Grab your emergency kit which should have at least 72 hours of water, food and utensils, matches, first aid kit, batteries and flashlight. Bring several days of clothing, medicine or prescriptions, cell phone, purse, wallet, keys, pets in their kennel or on a leash with enough food for several days.
Bring a comfort item for your children and if there is time consider gathering mementos and precious photos.
Before you leave, close your windows, doors and gates but keep them unlocked in case emergency crews need to enter. Shut off water at the main line, switch off electricity and leave your natural gas service on. Check on family or neighbours especially if they have mobility issues in case they need assistance. Be aware of the dangers of wildfire and get prepared as soon as possible as wildfire conditions can change within a matter of days. Finally, I would like to thank our hard working firefighting and emergency crews protecting our community and forests. They are doing a great job and we should all be proud of their service to British Columbia.
Donna Barnett is the MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin.