What to do if evacuated from your home
Evacuees are asked to register with the Canadian Red Cross. To register visit www.redcross.ca or call 1 800 863-6582. When your local or First Nations government has declared it safe for you to return home, there are steps you can take to make this transition easier and safer.
Resources and support for evacuees
Emergency Social Services & Emergency Reception Centres
Emergency Social Services (ESS) is available for those people under Evacuation Order due to wildfires. Each applicant must register at a reception centre indicated by their Local Government so that hardworking volunteers can determine legitimate needs and provide the necessary assistance on a case-by-case basis.
Since ESS is not an entitlement-based program, those people who are able to manage their own situation during difficult times are encouraged to do so. This also allows people who need support most to access ESS more readily.
Due to the improving conditions around the province and the reopening of essential services and health facilities, ESS reception centres will be reducing operations.
Please contact your local government to confirm the location of the nearest activated emergency reception centre.
Canadian Red Cross & Resilience Centres
Canadian Red Cross
The Government of B.C. is providing $100 million in funding for the Canadian Red Cross to provide direct assistance to evacuees and communities impacted by wildfires. All evacuees are strongly encouraged to register with the Canadian Red Cross, even if aid is not required. 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.
Registering with the Red Cross will also allow family and friends to know the whereabouts of loved ones and that they are safe. It also allows the Canadian Red Cross to contact people directly as more information and assistance becomes available. To register, please visit http://www.redcross.ca/how-we-help/current-emergency-responses/british-columbia-fires or call 1 800 863-6582.
Please note: Evacuees are asked to also register with their local emergency reception centre only if immediate assistance is needed with accommodations, food, medical or prescription support.
Red Cross Support and Resilience Centres
The Canadian Red Cross maintains an updated list of Support and Resilience Centres across B.C., including addresses and hours of operation.
In such stressful circumstances, the most important thing to remember is to stay calm, listen to local public officials, and if possible, access online social media channels like Twitter or your local government website for information updates. [ Learn More ]
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.
You will need:
- Your Social Insurance Number (SIN). If you do not remember your SIN, you can visit a Service Canada office with all the identification you have to get a confirmation of your SIN.
- To provide a mailing address and a residential address to complete your EI application and for Service Canada to process it.
- Provide a mailing address where you can receive mail (friend, family, temporary shelter, etc.). You can update this address later.
- Provide a residential address, even if you are temporarily living somewhere else due to the wildfires.
BC Hydro's Wildfire Evacuee Assistance Program provides bill credits and flexible payment plans to support residential and commercial customers affected by evacuation orders and alerts. [ Learn More ]
Canada’s home and business insurance industry is responding to the needs of their customers during the wildfire emergency in British Columbia. Damage due to wildfire is covered under a standard home insurance policy. As well, your insurance policy may provide coverage for additional living expenses (food and lodging, etc) incurred while under a mandatory evacuation order. Anyone with questions should contact their insurance representative or the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC or via email at email@example.com.
For for information visit: www.ibc.ca.
IBC also provides information on Twitter via @IBC_West.
[ Learn More ]
ICBC has established a special claims service team to expedite and review each fire related claim. The team is focused on helping those affected and will determine circumstances where customers’ deductibles and insurance discount impacts will be waived.
For customers with claims:
- 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.
- You will not need to pay a deductible if your insurance claim is for vehicle damage sustained as a result of being required to use a non-traditional roadway (e.g. forest service roads) to evacuate. The claim will also have no impact on your insurance discount.
- There are many variables involved in fire related claims and the deductibles and insurance discounts will be reviewed on an individual basis for all fire claims.
Purchasing or renewing insurance:
- Customers who are on evacuation alert can renew their insurance; but it’s not possible to add new comprehensive or specified perils insurance coverage. It’s important not to let your coverage expire – check your policy and remember you can renew your policy up to 55 days in advance of the expiration date.
- Impacted customers who are unable to visit/call an Autoplan broker for their insurance renewal or questions, should contact ICBC's customer service contact centre at 1-800-663-3051.
- Customers may purchase a temporary operating permit to move an uninsured vehicle to safety. Once out of the evacuation zone, comprehensive or specified perils may be purchased for your vehicle.
- ICBC customers who have purchased a storage policy or comprehensive or specified perils coverage from ICBC, can be rest assured that their vehicles will be covered in the event of damage from a fire.
Renewing a driver’s licence or road test bookings:
- Impacted customers who need to renew or replace their drivers licence can contact the driver licensing contact centre at 1-800-950-1498 for assistance.
- Road testing in the affected locations have been cancelled. Once normal operations resume, all cancelled road tests will be re-booked on a priority.
For all other customers in affected areas:
- Visit ICBC’s locator or call before visiting any of our offices to make sure they are open.
- ICBC’s customer service contact centre is available to answer questions at 1-800-663-3051.
- If you’re placed on an evacuation alert, pack all essential ID and documents in preparation for an evacuation. These documents include your B.C. driver’s licence, B.C. identification card, B.C. Services Card, passport, original birth certificate, marriage certificate and Canadian citizenship documentation. It's also a good idea to have a copy of your vehicle registration and Autoplan insurance policy.
Hospital Patient Relocation
For information on the whereabouts of Interior Health hospital patients relocated due to wildfires, call 1-877-442-2001.
Locate an approved laboratory facility. These include approved health authority and community service provider laboratories.
During a state of emergency, pharmacists are able to provide a drug without a prescription to ensure the health and safety of the public. For more information visit the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia – Providing Continuity of Care for Patients during a State of Emergency. The College’s Find a Pharmacy tool can help patients locate a pharmacy in the community where they are staying.
To find a walk-in clinic in your area, search the FIND Services and Resources Directory or call 8-1-1 to speak with a health services navigator any time of the day, every day of the year.
If you are affected by the B.C. wildfires and need help making your student loan payments, contact the National Student Loan Service Centre at 1 888 815-4514 to fast-track your application for the Repayment Assistance Plan. For borrowers in default, please contact Revenue Services of British Columbia at 1 877 405-4909.
Learn about the role of local authorities and First Nations during an emergency response, as well as planning for evacuation, reimbursement of relocation and qualifying for response costs. [ Learn More ]
For information about preparing non-commercial livestock and pets visit: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/preparedbc/prepare-your-pets.
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:
- 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.
- Look for indoor environments that might be less smoky, such as shopping malls, community centres and libraries.
- Avoid physical exertion because the amount of smoke you breathe increases as your breathing rate increases.
- Keep hydrated as it helps your body deal with inflammation.
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.
For more information visit:
The Ministry for Children and Family Development (MCFD) has a phone number for the specific use of all care providers (foster parents working directly with MCFD and contracted agency staffed residential and satellite homes) impacted by wildfires.
Please call 604-310-1234, if:
- You are in a wildfire area and have been evacuated, provide your new location and mobile phone number
- You have been or are needing to evacuate and require support to seek alternative accommodation
Help for evacuated children, families
The Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) office in Ashcroft has reopened, while the MCFD offices in 100 Mile House and Williams Lake are currently closed, as are Delegated Aboriginal Agency (DAA) offices in Williams Lake. Ministry staff are on site at evacuation centres, including Prince George and Kamloops, to provide support to evacuees.
If your family is affected by B.C. wildfires and you need to connect with services for children, families or caregivers, you can call toll free 1-800-663-9122 for Provincial Centralized Screening, call 1-877-387-7027, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When you call or email, MCFD staff will connect you with those who can help with child and youth mental-health services, family and child support services, and with child-protection concerns. MCFD is committed to helping children and families stay safe in this difficult time.