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Strengthening local emergency-evacuation, public-notification planning

Press Release

Aug. 9, 2023

VICTORIA – To keep people safer and more informed during emergencies, the Province is providing funding to 19 communities to develop and upgrade emergency-evacuation-route plans and public-notification plans.

“Recent wildfires in remote regions of B.C. have put communities at risk of being cut off from the rest of the province, highlighting the need for good, advanced planning to ensure residents are able to evacuate safely,” said Bowinn Ma, Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness. “We also know that First Nations and local governments have the most up-to-date information to provide to people to keep them safe. These funds will help ensure British Columbians can leave the area safely when a disaster hits, and will improve emergency notification, alerts and communication to people during emergencies.”

More than $880,000 is being provided through the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund (CEPF) to communities to develop and update plans, such as local emergency-alerting systems, that provide information to people in the event of an emergency.

“When emergencies happen, First Nations and local governments are on the front lines,” said Jen Ford, president, Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM). “This pool of funding is instrumental in supporting local communities to prepare and resource themselves for disaster response and mitigation unique to their circumstances.”

Projects throughout B.C. receiving funding include:

  • developing and reviewing evacuation route plans, geography, modes of transportation and other factors affecting the availability of evacuation routes in the Cowichan Valley Regional District;
  • strengthening tri-municipal operational readiness for evacuations and enhancing overall integrated community resilience across the North Shore in the District of North Vancouver;
  • identifying evacuation routes and transportation capacity, and developing an effective notification system to clearly communicate evacuation procedures to the community in the Kitasoo Xai’xais First Nation; and
  • assessing the existing road network connecting 108 Mile Ranch to the surrounding area, identifying potential bottlenecks and obstacles, and proposing alternative routes, where necessary, in the Cariboo Regional District.

In February 2023, the Province provided $180 million to CEPF, bringing the total provincial investment in the program to $369 million since its establishment in 2017. More than $164 million has been provided to First Nations and local governments through CEPF for more than 1,500 projects that help communities mitigate and prepare for disasters and climate-related emergencies. The CEPF is administered by the UBCM on behalf of the Province.

Quotes:

Emily Dicken, director, North Shore Emergency Management –

“The Community Emergency Preparedness Fund has been an instrumental funding source to enhance resilience and support disaster risk-reduction and readiness activities across the North Shore. The CEPF granting process acts as a catalyst for collaborative multi-municipal and Nation-based projects on the North Shore, bringing together all three municipalities and two First Nations to collaborate on projects that directly enhance the resilience across all North Shore communities.”

Cari McIntyre, emergency planning co-ordinator, Comox Valley Emergency Program –

“The Comox Valley Regional Evacuation and Public Notification Planning project supports regional and mutual-aid partners to co-develop evacuation plans and public-notification systems that are grounded in traditional knowledge and technical data. This knowledge will support numerous project partners to work collaboratively on identifying, developing and informing regional communication and geographical pathways that support the safe movement of those who live, work and play in this area.”

Aaron Stone, board chair, Cowichan Valley Regional District –

“We’re a stronger community and region when we work together to safely navigate a local emergency. Cowichan Valley Regional District and Municipal Emergency Management relies on grant funding to improve modernization of services and ensure safe, compassionate community support during an emergency. The development of evacuation-route plans can minimize distress to the community during a highly stressful emergency event and assist hard-working emergency-support organizations by increasing awareness of safe and timely routes to evacuation centres.”

Learn More:

For more information about the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund, visit: https://www.ubcm.ca/cepf

For information about disaster- and climate-risk reduction, visit ClimateReadyBC: https://www.ClimateReadyBC.ca

To learn more about the Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy: http://www.gov.bc.ca/BC-Adapts

A backgrounder follows.

Contact:

Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness
Media Relations
250 880-6430

BACKGROUNDER

Community Emergency Preparedness Fund recipients

The Community Emergency Preparedness Fund is administered through the Union of British Columbia Municipalities and supports projects that strengthen the resilience of First Nations and local governments in responding to and preparing for natural disasters and climate change.

The following First Nations and local governments throughout British Columbia will receive more than $880,000 in provincial Community Emergency Preparedness Funds:

Adams Lake Indian Band: Emergency Route Review and Governance Policy Development
Total funding: $30,000

Burnaby: Evacuation Route Planning Toolkits – NW Quadrant (Brentwood) and Crisis Communications Strategy
Total funding: $30,000

Cariboo Regional District: 108 Mile Ranch and Surrounding Area – Evacuation Route Plan
Total funding: $29,500

Columbia Shuswap Regional District: Community Evacuation Route Planning and Alertable Awareness Project
Total funding: $29,940

Comox Valley Regional District: Evacuation and Public Notification Planning
Regional partners: K’ómoks First Nation, Cumberland, Comox, Courtenay
Total funding: $150,000

Cowichan Valley Regional District: 2023 East and Central Cowichan Evacuation Routes
Regional partners: Ladysmith, Duncan, North Cowichan, Lake Cowichan
Total funding: $147,500

Fraser Valley Regional District: Electoral Area E Evacuation Guide
Total funding: $30,000

Kitasoo Xai’xais Nation: Klemtu Evacuation Route and Notification Plan
Total funding: $30,000

Leq’á:mel First Nation: Evacuation Route Plan and Development of Public Notification Plan
Total funding: $28,820

Metchosin: Public Notification Plan
Total funding: $30,000

Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation: Gold River and Tsa’xana Evacuation Planning Partnership
Regional partner: Gold River
Total funding: $60,000

Nelson: Public Notification and Emergency Route Planning
Total funding: $23,000

Nooaitch Indian Band: Emergency Communication and Evacuation Route Plan
Total funding: $25,000

North Okanagan Regional District: Emergency Communications and Grandview Bench Evacuation Route Plan
Total funding: $30,000

North Vancouver District: Evacuation Route Plan and Exercise
Total funding: $90,000

Strathcona Regional District: Quadra Island Evacuation Guidelines and Tsunami Notification Guidelines
Total funding: $32,000

Tahltan Nation: Public Notification and Evacuation Route Planning
Total funding: $30,000

Thompson-Nicola Regional District: Evacuation Route Review
Total funding: $27,625

Tsay Keh Dene Nation: Evacuation Route Planning
Total funding: $27,193.80

Contact:

Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness
Media Relations
250 880-6430

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