MNBC President's Message and Important Information to Métis people affected by wildfires in BC.
Posted by MNBC on
MNBC extends our thoughts and prayers to those affected by the fires burning in different areas of British Columbia. While there are many people and much equipment fighting these terrible fires, we are mindful of the evacuations that have taken place so that British Columbians are moved to safety.
Recently, the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation provided MNBC with a Q & A's to the most commom asked questions relating to the wildfires, emergency connections, and resources, for evacuees and those affected by these fires. Please take a moment to reveiw the following questions & answers of important information.
We are thinking of all those affected by these horrific and tragic circumstances and pray for the safety of the firefighters, the many volunteers, residents, our colleagues, friends and families. Our hearts are with you all.
President Clara Morin Dal Col
Métis Nation BC
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Wildfires and Métis peoples
1. How do I get information about the status of fires in my area?
There is lots of information online about the status of both wildfires and evacuation alerts.
For information on wildfires, visit www.bcwildfire.ca
For information on evacuation orders and alerts, visit www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca
2. How do I find out about travel restrictions?
Get a complete list of impacted highways and closure information at www.drivebc.ca
BC Ferries is providing complimentary prearranged travel support for people evacuating the wildfires in the B.C. Interior. Evacuees from officially evacuated areas are asked to please contact 1-888-BCFERRY (1-888-223-3779) to secure their booking. Special emergency management teams at BC Ferries Customer Service Centre are standing by to take calls.
3. Will residents in communities that are evacuated be allowed to return to their communities after the fire danger is over?
Yes. The evacuation is about public safety and it is temporary.
4. How is government going to protect my home from looting while I’m evacuated?
The RCMP is bringing in additional officers to protect property from looters.
5. Will any of the $100 million announced by the Province as part of the declaration of emergency go to Métis people?
The Province is providing $100 million in funding for the Canadian Red Cross to provide direct assistance to evacuees and communities impacted by wildfires.
The Province strongly encourages all evacuees to register with the Canadian Red Cross. At least $600.00 for each house-hold for every 14 days they are unable to return to their home is available to evacuated houselholds that register.
Contact the Canadian Red Cross at 1-800-863-6582 or online at http://www.redcross.ca/how-we-help/current-emergency-responses
6. Where can I find information about re-entry to my community after the evacuation order is lifted?
The re-entry information (returning home after an evacuation) available to the public has been updated on the Emergency Management BC website: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/emergency-response-and-recovery/returning-home
Canadian Red Cross also provides a wildfire recovery guide: http://www.redcross.ca/crc/documents/What-We-Do/Emergencies-and-Disasters-CDN/Home-and-Family/Fire-Recovery-Guide_2017.pdf
7. Is there provincial support through Disaster Financial Assistance for homes in the fire areas?
Fire damage, including from wildfires, is insurable and not eligible for Disaster Financial Assistance.
The purpose of the Disaster Financial Assistance program is to help people and local governments recover after an uninsurable disaster, such as overland flooding, for which insurance is not readily available.
8. What about vehicles and licenses?
A dedicated team at ICBC is handling insurance claims related to a fire on a priority basis. To make a claim, you can file online at icbc.com or call ICBC's Dial-a-Claim at 1-800-910-4222, which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
ICBC is sending free temporary licences for those that have lost theirs in the fire.
9. I live in a fire zone, how do I prepare my property and my family?
FireSmart Canada is a national program that provides information on how residents and communities can prepare for wildfires. Visit www.firesmartcanada.ca/
10. Who do I contact if I have equipment available that might be useful for firefighting or fire-mitigation in the Cariboo?
Contact the Cariboo fire centre. The number is 250-799-2600.
There is a specific procedure for registering equipment that might be used in the current emergency. The liaison officer can walk you through that process.
There may be reasons why equipment is not used, but community help is always appreciated.
11. Where can I find help with my medical needs if I’m evacuated?
We recognize that evacuation can be traumatic and that some people may not have access to their medications and other medical services, equipment and supplies.
If you need to replace or refill a prescription for medication, go to your local pharmacy and bring your identification. If possible bring your prescription or medication packaging. If you don’t have details of your medication, the pharmacist can look it up for you.
12. What do I do if my health centre is closed or my family is evacuated?
Nursing Services will work alongside Interior Health to identify safe and appropriate care areas and, as able, impacted nursing staff will be deployed to these areas.
Evacuated community members are being asked to seek medical care from the nearest medical facility in the receiving community, health clinic or hospital.
For those with loved ones in the hospital or long-term care, a central number has been established through Interior Health Patient and Quality Care Office: 1-877-442-2001 to connect evacuees and families.
13. What are the concerns regarding air quality in my community?
Updates on air quality are available at http://firesmoke.ca/
14. What do I do if I have problems with the smoky air?
Forest fire smoke is a complex and dynamic mixture of gases and very small particles that can irritate the respiratory system and cause systemic inflammation. This will be an ongoing concern as air quality in affected areas may be variable for days or weeks. Advice to minimize health effects:
o If you have a chronic condition, have rescue medication on hand at all times and a plan to follow if your rescue medication cannot bring your condition under control.
o Look for indoor environments that might be less smoky, such as shopping malls, community centres and libraries.
o Avoid physical exertion because the amount of smoke you breathe increases as your breathing rate increases.
o Keep hydrated as it helps your body deal with inflammation.
o If you are feeling unwell, remember you can call 8-1-1, a free-of-charge provincial health information and advice phone line available in British Columbia. If you or a loved one is experiencing a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1.
o For more information visit: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/
15. What do I do if I’m having trouble registering with Red Cross?
Red Cross has experienced some technical challenges with its online registration system. If you have been evacuated, please call the contact centre at 1-800-863-6582 to have an agent help you register. The call volume is high and people are experiencing long wait times.
The registration process will ask for your basic information about you and your household, such as name, date of birth, email address and home address.
16. If telecommunications infrastructure (e.g. communications towers) is affected by the wildfires, is support available to communities for alternate communications methods, e.g. satellite phones?
Yes. Emergency Management BC has the ability to support alternate communications methods when communications infrastructure is affected by wildfire.
Communications towers support landline telephones and often internet, cellphone, and data services as well.
When such a tower is compromised, BC Hydro and Telus crews are deployed to repair the tower as soon as it is safe to do so.
17. Why would the provincial government close access to the backcountry due to wildfire hazard?
When the wildfire hazard is this extreme and the public is in imminent danger, it may be necessary to close the entire backcountry or selected local areas of the backcountry such as recreation sites and trails to all users.
The Wildfire Act allows for these closures, depending on the wildfire risk, and may also require individuals to leave an area where firefighters are engaged in fire control.
These isolated areas are difficult for people to get out of when the wildfire situation is changing rapidly.
And certain forms of backcountry recreation, such as off-road vehicles, also carry a risk of fire.
The backcountry is valued by all British Columbians. If you or your community members see a fire in the backcountry, please notify the BC Wildfire Service immediately at 1-800-663-5555 with information about the location, size, appearance, rate of spread and type of fuel (grass, bushes, trees).
18. How will the provincial government handle this emergency going forward?
On July 19, 2017, the Province extended the state of emergency to ensure a coordinated response to the wildfires, and has committed to provide ongoing direct financial support to evacuees. The current one-time $600-per-household funding will be renewed every 14 days on an ongoing basis until evacuees return home.
In addition, Premier John Horgan has appointed a cabinet task force with the following members:
i. Hon. Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
ii. Hon. Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General
iii. Hon. Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development
iv. Hon. Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
v. Hon. Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
vi. Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness
Questions & Answers on Wildfires for Métis people and their communities. PRINT/Download QA_Wildfire_MNBC (PDF)
Questions & Answers on Wildfires for First Nation's and their communities. PRINT/Download QA_Wildfire_FN Communities (PDF)
Other Emergency information,