The severe flooding in the Lower Mainland and other parts of the province has once again brought emergency planning to the forefront.
Fiona Dercole, Protective Services Manager for the RDEK, stopped by Kimberley Council this week to update them on the East Kootenay Emergency Program.
She told Council that climate change was increasing the frequency and severity of climate events, and that existing risks hadn’t been adequately dealt with, let alone more severe events in the future. She emphasized that people not considered vulnerable needed to be proactive and prepared for emergency.
She pointed out a number of emergencies in the RDEK region in the past years, beginning with the terrible fire season on 2003. Recent emergency events include Elk Valley flooding this year; Fairmont debris flooding in both the past two years; Meachen Creek wildfire in 2018, which threatened Kimberley; the Fernie Arena ammonia incident in 2017; the 2017 wildfires; and Elk Valley flooding in 2013.
Currently the Emergency Program is working on a number of projects, the three main ones being the East Kootenay Evacuation Plan, the East Kootenay Flood and Steep Creek Risk Prioritization and the East Kootenay Emergency Plan.
There is also a technology upgrade going on at the Emergency Operations Centre in Cranbrook.
Dercole also urged residents to register for the Evacuation Notification System, which will notify you as soon as any sort of emergency occurs in your area.