Residents urged to be prepared in case of evacuation

While the fire situation in the Cariboo remains relatively unchanged, residents are urged to be prepared. “The evacuation alert for the City of Williams Lake and surrounding areas remains in place and residents are encouraged to remain prepared,” fire officials stated.

“The City of Williams Lake, Cariboo Regional District (CRD) and Cariboo Fire Centre are closely monitoring the situation in the area. As there is still potential for a wind event over the weekend, we encourage residents on evacuation alert to be prepared.

“It is important to understand the evacuation plan for the area in the event that the alert was to change to an order. If the CRD and City of Williams Lake were to issue an evacuation order, it would contain instructions regarding evacuation routes as well as the location of the Emergency Social Services Reception Centre.

“For City of Williams Lake residents who are not able to self-evacuate, the City would activate 12 zones each with its own muster point. Buses would wait at these muster points for as long as possible before transporting people out of the evacuation area. If an order was issued, residents would need to make their way as quickly as possible to a muster point in order to secure a place on a bus before it departs.

“City residents who are unable to make their way to a muster point must call the City’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) immediately for assistance. The numbers are 250-392-2364 and 250-392-2365. If you do not self-identify, the City has no way to know that you require assistance.”

Evacuees are reminded to register, if they have not already done so:

* With the Canadian Red Cross, even if you do not immediately require aid.

* And at emergency social services reception centres, only if you require immediate aid with lodging, food or clothing.

Canadian Red Cross:

* The Government of British Columbia is providing $100 million in funding for the Canadian Red Cross to provide direct assistance to evacuees and communities impacted by wildfires.

* The Province is urging all evacuees to register with the Canadian Red Cross, even those who do not require immediate aid.

* Registering allows the Red Cross to contact evacuees directly as more information and assistance becomes available, which can help reunite families and loved ones.

* On Tuesday, July 11, 2017, the Canadian Red Cross began transfers of at least $600 per household to registered evacuees whose information has been validated with the provincial authorities.

* The funds will first be delivered to households that have been ordered to evacuate, as they currently face the highest level of need.

* After the Red Cross validates the information, they will transfer the funds to recipients through secure electronic bank transfers. The validation and transfer process will take up to a week to process.

* To register, please contact the Canadian Red Cross at 1 800 863-6582 or online at: www.redcross.ca.

Emergency Social Services:

* Emergency Social Services (ESS) are available to those directly affected by the fires; there is an identifying process to ensure legitimate need and each applicant is assessed on a case-by-case basis by hardworking volunteers.

* Evacuees are asked to also register with their local emergency reception centre only if immediate assistance is needed with accommodations, food, or incidentals.

* Depending on the individual circumstance, services such as first aid, child minding, pet care and transportation may also be available.

* In regular circumstances, those who have self-evacuated do not normally receive Emergency Social Services.

* Due to the scope and scale of this current wildfire event, self-evacuated persons who are in the evacuation order, alert or who are immediately adjacent to the wildfires, or are adversely affected by smoke due to health conditions, will be eligible to receive Emergency Social Services.

* Evacuees who have migrated to a community without a reception centre should contact an ESS reception centre in the area from which they originated, and ask for instruction on how best to receive services.

* A list of evacuation centre locations is maintained at: www.bcwildfire.ca

(Click on “What to do if evacuated”)

* If you require more information, please dial 1 800 585-9559, or visit: www.gov.bc.ca/EmergencySocialServices

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