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RDEK Encourages Readiness Ahead of Emergency Preparedness Week

Emergency Preparedness Week is May 5 – 11 this year and the RDEK is encouraging residents to ready themselves and their families. 

The theme of Emergency Preparedness Week this year is "Using technology before, during and after emergencies," and making sure that you are signed up for the Regional Evacuation Notification System (ENS) is a large part of that preparation.  “The notification system is only used for evacuation alerts or orders and has been implemented as an additional tool to help us get the word out as quickly as possible to affected areas when time is of the essence,” explains RDEK Communications Manager Loree Duczek. The RDEK is urging residents to register by next Thursday as they are planning a region-wide test of the system on Friday, May 10 at 2:00 PM.

The ENS is powered by Voyent Alert! to keep residents and property owners informed in case of evacuation orders or alerts during critical events such as wildfires, floods or hazardous materials incidents, the notification system is an important tool for residents to have, particularly as we head into the spring and summer, when flooding and wildfire are two hazards we face in the East Kootenay.

“It is important as well for those who have already signed up for the system, to make sure that their properties are pinned in the correct location. We have come across many residents who have signed up, only to discover later that they have not placed their pins in the right spot,” says Duczek. “This means that they may be receiving an Evacuation Alert or Order when they don’t need to be, or more concerningly, not receiving those crucial notifications when they should be.” Those who would like to ensure that they have correctly located their property can do so through the website, app, or call the RDEK for help.

For instructions on how to sign up for the service and receive notifications by phone, both to landlines and mobile phones, or via a dedicated app, visit the Emergency Information page on  www.rdek.bc.ca.

In addition to the test of the ENS, the RDEK will be focusing its communications on how residents can help ensure they are prepared in the event they experience an emergency event.  “From making an emergency kit, to having – and practicing – a family escape plan, there are a number of simple, but important things each of us can do to be better prepared,” says Duczek. To access toolkits, how-to guides and more, visit www.getprepared.ca.

Saturday, May 4 is also Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, which is intended to encourage residents to learn about FireSmart™ and take steps to help reduce the risk of wildfire on their homes and properties.  The East Kootenay FireSmart™ Program (EKFP) will hold a Wildfire Community Preparedness Fair called Ember Stomp at the Jaffray Community Hall on May 4th from 10 AM – 3 PM with over 20 support services scheduled to provide information on how to prepare your home, property, and family in case of Wildfire. The EKFP will also be set up at the East Kootenay Emergency Management Program Emergency Preparedness Fair being held on May 4th in the parking lot of Western Financial Place in Cranbrook from 10 AM – 2 PM. Additionally, the EKFP will be set up at Home Hardware in Invermere on that day from 10 AM – 2PM to provide information to residents and contractors. For more information and event details, visit engage.rdek.bc.ca/firesmart.

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