Those evacuating due to smoke encouraged to return home

Emergency Management BC is asking people, who have self-evacuated to larger communities due to smoke, to consider returning home.

In many communities hosting evacuees, accommodations are reaching capacity. Emergency Social Services are intended to help those on evacuation order, and while some exceptions were made during this wildfire season, accommodations are now needed for those on evacuation order.

Because smoky conditions shift and move, self-evacuating to another community does not guarantee a person’s exposure will be reduced, and unnecessary relocation or travel will only add stress and anxiety that can also have negative health effects. Due to weather patterns, in many cases the smoke conditions in major urban centres are worse than the areas residents have left.

Here are some helpful tips if you are not on evacuation order and you are worried about smoke issues in your area:

* Stay indoors and keep the air clean (windows/doors closed, no smoking, no burning fireplaces/candles/incense, no vacuuming).

* Reduce the amount of time spent outdoors. Avoid vigorous outdoor activities.

* When in a vehicle, keep windows closed with air conditioning set to recirculate.

* Visit places with controlled air supply, such as shopping malls, swimming pools, public libraries, etc.

* People with asthma, or other chronic illnesses, should ensure they have an adequate supply of inhalers/medication, and should activate their asthma or personal protection plans.

* Visit HealthLinkBC: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/

* Call 811 (non-emergency) or visit your health practitioner for non-emergency medical assistance.

* Call 911 only during an emergency, e.g., if someone is having difficulty breathing, or is in cardiovascular distress.

Returning home will help host-community Emergency Social Services create the capacity for people who have been evacuated from their homes due to a direct wildfire threat.