Northern Rockies Regional Municipality

Emergency Operations Centre Communications

 

 

Emergency Operations Centre Communications Bulletin July 9, 2015 1500 HRS

 

Many questions from the community came forward yesterday as a result of the Alaska Highway closure due to the Big Beaver Creek wildfire. Many residents were asking about evacuation processes and what services will be put in place to support the residents.

 What happens during an emergency?

In the event of a major emergency in the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality, the Emergency Response Plan (ERP) and the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) will be activated. The EOC is established in order to facilitate and manage coordinated response and recovery operations and to support emergency response personnel in the field. It is the EOC where coordination and decisions are facilitated, and where all official communications regarding the emergency will originate. The Northern Rockies Emergency Operations Centre is coordinated by Municipal staff and involves input from:

  • Northern Rockies Regional Council
  • Northern Rockies Regional Municipality (all Departments including Fire Rescue and Airport)
  • Fort Nelson First Nation
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • BC Ambulance
  • Northern Health
  • Search & Rescue
  • Provincial Ministries
  • Transportation and communications companies
  • Oil & Gas companies
  • Fort Nelson Fire Zone Office
  • And several other agencies

The Northern Rockies has a detailed ERP that was updated in 2013. During events such as yesterday, the EOC for the NRRM is activated internally to coordinate communications to support the activities of those responding to the emergencies and to provide support where needed. One of the mandates of the EOC is to ensure that accurate and timely information is distributed to everyone. To help meet that mandate, residents can be assured that the EOC is in contact with agencies such as Wildfire BC, Prince George Fire Centre, RCMP, BC Ambulance, and Emergency Management BC on a daily and sometimes hourly basis.

What can you do to be prepared?

Natural disasters and emergencies are not something we think about day-to-day; however, events such as interface wildfires can strike any community and it is up to all of us to be ready and to be prepared.

While we do have a community Emergency Response Plan, no community is equipped is handle all the demands of a catastrophe. Help your community and your family by preparing yourself. Make sure everyone in your family knows what to do before, during, and after an emergency.

If an emergency happens in our community, it may take emergency workers some time to reach you. You should be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for a minimum of 72 hours.

Visit Get Prepared or Prepared BC to get more information about knowing the risks, making a plan, and what to include in your 72-hour emergency kit in the event of an emergency or evacuation.

What do I need to know in an emergency?

Should the need arise to put any residents of the Municipality on notice for potential evacuation; the EOC will issue an Evacuation Alert. The NRRM EOC will use every means possible to communicate the alert including social media and radio. The alert will contain information regarding the emergency and the potential threat. It is during this time that families and residents should review their own personal emergency plans and touch base with friends and family members in the community to make sure everyone has a plan.

Should the EOC need to issue an evacuation order, full details of the emergency and the threat will be communicated along with instructions for the evacuation.  In the event of an evacuation order, routes and designated reception centres will be identified at that time. For those residents that have no other means such as friends or family they can rely on, our Emergency Response Plan has provisions to provide assistance to those who require it.

All emergency communications will be distributed by every means possible, but it is important to seek out credible sources of information so all residents can make informed decisions for the safety of their family.

We encourage all residents to take some time to sit down and talk to their family about making a family emergency plan. We can’t always prevent disasters from happening, but we can be prepared.

 

Erin La Vale
Emergency Program Coordinator/EOC Director
Northern Rockies Regional Municipality

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