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An accommodation plan can support communities under evacuation

VICTORIA – Emergency Management BC is asking people in wildfire-affected communities to plan their accommodations, in the event of an evacuation order, in advance to help ensure capacity for evacuees who need hotel rooms.

If possible, the best option would be to arrange to stay with family or friends, so commercial accommodations have capacity for evacuees who have no other option.

Your private home insurance should be accessed whenever possible to cover additional costs incurred while on mandatory evacuation. Make sure to confirm your coverage with your insurance provider, and notify your insurance provider of the evacuation order. If other supports are unavailable, check with Emergency Support Services (ESS).

If you are under an evacuation order, you can self-register with ESS online: https://ess.gov.bc.ca/

If you cannot self-register online, go the reception centre designated by your local government or First Nation to register in-person. By registering, your community will know where you are, and loved ones can find out if you are safe.

Emergency Management BC urges people who have self-evacuated to larger communities due to smoky conditions to consider returning home. Because smoky conditions shift and move, self-evacuating to another community does not guarantee a person’s exposure will be reduced. Unnecessary relocation or travel will only add stress and anxiety that can also have negative health effects.

In many communities, accommodations are reaching capacity. By returning home, people can help host-community ESS create capacity for people who have been evacuated from their homes due to a direct wildfire threat.

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.

For more tips on how to breathe easier during increased wildfire activity, visit: https://www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca/home/wildfire-preparedness/wildfire-smoke-and-air-quality/

The Province is here to support, and ESS is available for people who need them.

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