Heavy rain from the storm Saturday night and Sunday morning caused flooding on the Wildhorse River, and elsewhere through southeast. Pictured here in a photo by Rick Nowell, a torrent of chocolate brown water is thundering through the narrow channel. This wide-angle photo shows the Wildhorse Bridge, just half a kilometre from Fort Steele, as water spills out out over the floodplain, cutting new channels towards the Kootenay River. Rick Nowell photo

RDEK urges residents to be prepared for emergencies including flooding, wildfire

The East Kootenay region has been placed on a high streamflow advisory

The Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) is reminding residents to sign up for their emergency notification system and prepare their homes in case of emergency. This comes as the East Kootenay region has been placed on a high streamflow advisory in recent days.

On June 3, the BC River Forecast Centre downgraded the East Kootenay to a high streamflow advisory from a flood watch. Most rivers and streams across the region have seen a large increase in streamflow due to heavy rainfall and the spring freshet.

“The heavy rainfall on Sunday certainly accelerated our spring freshet and resulted in a number of impacts around the region,” said RDEK Information Officer Loree Duzcek in a press release. “While we expect things to remain somewhat stable for the next few days, it is important for residents to remain vigilant as we are still vulnerable to flooding, particularly if we experience another heavy rain event, which is a possibility this weekend.”

READ MORE: RDEK sets up self-fill sandbag stations across the region

READ MORE: Evacuation order downgraded in Fairmont, alert remains in place

There are self fill sandbag stations set up across the region in Jaffray, Wasa, Cranbrook, Fairmont, Windermere, Moyie, Kimberley and Fernie. The specific locations are as follows:

– Jaffray Community Hall – 7369 Jaffray Village Loop Rd

– Wasa Community Hall – Wasa School Road

– Cranbrook Public Works Yard – Cobham Avenue

– Old Barn – Mountainside Golf Course – Fairmont Hot Springs Road

– Windermere Fire Hall parking lot – Highway 93/95

– RDEK Pump House in Moyie – 9289 Tavistock Street

– Centennial Hall – 100 4th Avenue, Kimberley

– Fernie Public Works Yard – 1492 Railway Avenue

The sandbag stations have sand and bags, however residents are asked to bring their own shovels and gloves to comply with COVID-19 regulations.

“While it is still too soon to know whether the East Kootenay will be hit by rain Saturday and Sunday, the RDEK is urging residents to take steps now to be prepared. This past weekend was a good example of how quickly things can change. There are a few steps residents can take to help themselves be ready and able to act quickly in an emergency,” Duczek adds.

The RDEK encourages residents to sign up for the Evacuation Notification System, which will send alerts to mobile and/or land lines in the event of an evacuation or alert. There is also an app that can be downloaded for smartphones. It is a free service, available to everyone through a simple online registration process.

To register, visit https://ca.voyent-alert.com/vras/client.html#!/registration. Choose ‘my locations’ from the menu to add locations. For those who use a smartphone, the Voyent Alert app can be downloaded from the Apple app or Google Play stores.

“This service is available to residents and property owners in the East Kootenay. Whether you live in a municipality, rural area or First Nation community, own a seasonal home here, or you are visiting, you will receive a notification if you have subscribed and there is an evacuation alert or order affecting your chosen locations,” Duczek explained.

Those who wish to receive general information on emergencies or alerts via email can sign up for one of the RDEK’s email groups at www.rdek.bc.ca. Be sure to follow the RDEK’s Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as local news channels and municipal information sources for up-to-date information on emergencies.

All of these resources are valuable and relevant not only during spring flooding season, but also during the upcoming wildfire season.

READ MORE: City of Cranbrook advises residents to protect properties from spring flooding

Another great resource to prepare your family and home for emergencies is the Prepared BC website. The website has information on potential hazards for your area, a detailed plan for your home, as well as a detailed outline on what to include in an emergency kit.

The government of BC recommends that every home have an emergency kit, stored in one or two containers such as plastic bins or duffle bags. Store them in an area that is easily accessible such as a closet, spare room or garage.

Your kit should include the following:

– Non-perishable food: three-day to one-week supply with a manual can opener

– Water: four litres per person, per day for drinking and sanitation

– Phone charger, battery bank or inverter

– Battery powered or hand-crank radio

– Battery powered or hand-crank flashlight

– Extra batteries

– First aid kit and medications

– Personal toiletries and items such as an extra pair of glasses or contact lenses

– A copy of your emergency plan and copies of important documents such as insurance papers

– Cash in small bills

– Garbage bags and moist towelettes for personal sanitation

– Seasonal clothing, sturdy footwear and an emergency blanket

– Whistle

– A ‘HELP’/’OK’ sign to display in your window



corey.bullock@cranbrooktownsman.com

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