The 2021 wildfire season has arrived early in BC with devastating consequences. A number of First Nations communities continue to be under evacuation orders or alerts. The FNHA is working with local, regional and provincial emergency service partners to coordinate services and supports.
1. Go to your nearest evacuation reception centre
The reception centre will be listed on your evacuation order. First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) team members are available at many centres to help community members to access culturally-safe supports.
For an up-to-date list of evacuation alerts and orders, or information on how to find a reception centre, call the provincial Emergency Support Services line at 1-800-585-9559 or go to emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca/wildfires-2021. The support line is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
2. Register for Emergency Support Services
People who are on evacuation alert or ordered to evacuate can register to receive Emergency Support Services from the Province of BC. If your local emergency program asks you to self-register, you can do it easily using the Evacuation Registration Assistance tool at ess.gov.bc.ca. It's important to register even if you don't need accommodation.
If you are looking for someone that has been impacted or displaced by wildfires, or you want your loved ones to know that you are okay, call the Canadian Red Cross Family Reunification line at 1-800-863-6582. This service is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.
The FNHA's Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) can support communities to navigate emergency wildfire response pathways and access supplies and services.
Community leaders are encouraged to contact their Regional EHO between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. After-hours support is also available. Find your local EHO at fnha.ca/what-we-do/environmental-health.
Air Cleaning and Clean Air Shelters
The FNHA has a limited number of portable air cleaners / purifiers available for First Nations people who are at high risk of illness from wildfire smoke.
For more information, and for advice on how to create clean air shelters for people affected by smoke, visit fnha.ca/wildfire.
FNHA Environmental Health Officers are available to support the development of clean air shelters. They are currently contacting all impacted First Nations. Contact your local Emergency Health Officer through the FNHA Regional Office with any questions.
For the latest air quality readings in the province, visit bcairquality.ca/readings.
In times of extreme or extended periods of above average temperatures, communities can set up cooling centers in local common spaces. These are usually set up as needed and are advertised on local channels, such as social media, town webpages, newspapers and community information boards.
If you need to find a cooling center, please contact the community center or band office nearest to you.
To check if routes are clear for travel, follow @DriveBC on Twitter or visit drivebc.ca.
The FNHA recognizes and acknowledges the unique trauma to First Nations, which goes beyond loss of home or cherished valuables. During this stressful time, the FNHA is committed to keeping access open to health benefits and services.
Many people displaced by fires may have lost access to life-sustaining health services, including medications. To contact Health Benefits about coverage for health and wellness services, medical transportation or medical supplies and equipment, call 1-855-550-5454 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.
For more information on health and wellness supports for evacuees, please visit fnha.ca/wildfire.
For non-emergency health information and services visit HealthLinkBC.ca or call 8-1-1 toll-free, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
If you are having a health emergency, dial 9-1-1 or a local emergency contact number immediately.