Wildfire Response

wildfire-image.JPG

Emergency Management and Evacuation
Air Quality and Wildfire Smoke
Health Benefits and Virtual Health
Mental Health and Cultural Supports
Returning Home after Wildfires

  
​​
 
Dr. Nel Weiman shares tips for coping with anxiety about wildfires

The role of the FNHA is to support First Nations, communities and individuals with wildfire response, evacuation and recovery. This role includes:

  • facilitating communication and support with chiefs, health directors and community engagement coordinators, relaying information where possible
  • coordinating access to counselling, traditional supports and culturally safe spaces
  • providing continued access to FNHA and FNHA-funded health services; see below for descriptions of these services

Emergency Managem​ent and Evacuation

The FNHA Public Health Response team provides health-related emergency management support services to Nations and communities affected by wildfires and other natural disasters. Environmental Health Officers can provide advice and support to communities to access resources, avoid wildfire smoke effects and return home safely after an evacuation order is lifted.

Follow the BC Wildfire service on Twitter at @BCGovFireInfo for the latest updates on wildfire activity in BC. To report a wildfire, dial *5555 on a cell phone or call 1-800-663-5555 toll-free.

The FNHA encourages anyone who is evacuated and needs assistance to:

1. Go to the nearest evacuation reception centre

The reception centre will be listed on the evacuation order. FNHA team members are available at many centres to help community members to access culturally-safe supports.

For information on evacuation alerts and orders in BC, or to find a reception centre, visit EmergencyInfoBC or call the provincial Emergency Services Support line at 1-800-585-9559. The line is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Follow @EmergencyInfoBC on Twitter for updates.

2. Register for Emergency Services Support

People who are on evacuation alert or ordered to evacuate can register to receive Emergency Services Support from the Province of BC. Self-registration is easy using the Evacuation Registration Assistance tool the the provincial website Evacuation Registration and Assistance​. Evacuees should register even if they don't need accommodation or other supports.

Air Quality and W​il​​dfire Smoke

The FNHA may be able to provide air cleaners or purifiers to communities with members who are especially vulnerable to the health effects of wildfire smoke. FNHA Regional Environmental Health Officers can also provide advice to communities on setting up clean air shelters.

The BC Centre for Disease Control provides fact sheets and videos on wildfire smoke and air quality. Topics include health risks, how to prepare for wildfire season, face masks, and advice on portable air cleaners and box filters.

Visit the Government of BC Air Quality Health Index for regional air quality readings. Sign up for air quality advisories via email, or follow @EnvReportBC on Twitter.

Health Benefits and Virt​​ual Health

In addition to regular weekday service, FNHA Health Benefits is providing a support line for clients evacuated due to wildfires. 

Phone (toll-free): 1-888-305-1505; hours: Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday noon to 4:00 p.m.

​The FNHA Health Benefits team can support clients to access health services, medications, supplies and equipment if they are evacuated or separated from their usual providers.

Supports include:

Mental Health an​​​d Cultural Supports

The FNHA and our partners provide culturally safe and trauma-informed mental health and crisis counselling supports to Indigenous people in BC. These services are available year-round and are not limited to wildfires.

Crisis counselling is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Stigma around drug use can make individuals feel unsafe to discuss addiction or seek medical help. The FNHA provides information on harm reduction and overdose prevention treatment centre services around BC to help individuals stay safe if they are impacted by wildfires and need access to addictions medicine or supports.

Returning Home​​ After Wildfires

Many dangers can remain after a wildfire has burned through an area. It is important to know the hazards and take steps to safely return home after officials say it is safe to do so.



 Contact Us

FNHA Environmental Health Team

Email: environmental.health@fnha.ca

Emergencies Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Call your local Environmental Health Officer

Emergencies after hours: Phone: 1-844-666-0711 | Email: ephs.afterhours@fnha.ca

Calls or emails received after 10:00 p.m. will be responded to the following day at 6:00 a.m. ​

FNHA Health Benefits Support Line for Evacuees

Phone (toll-free): 1-888-305-1505

Hours: Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday noon to 4:00 p.m.