Emergency Program

Mandate and Mission Statement

The general mission of the Castlegar Emergency Program is to provide an organization capable of facilitating all aspects of emergency preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation in order to ensure all area residents the maximum potential for survival and recovery in the event of a disaster.

The Castlegar Emergency Program is a volunteer organization consisting of several groups working in a cooperative atmosphere, planning mitigation and preparation for, response to, and recovery from a major disaster or emergency which extends beyond normally used resources of the community.

Groups in the Emergency Program include:

  • the Castlegar Emergency Planning Committee
  • the Emergency Measures Organization
  • Emergency Social Services and several subordinate groups of that organization such as Food Services, Personal Services, Animal Coordination, Emergency Finance and Emergency Housing
  • Civilian and Federal Security Forces
  • Emergency Responders such as fire and ambulance
  • Castlegar Society for Search and Rescue
  • the School District
  • the Canadian Red Cross
  • Provincial Government Agencies such as Public Health, Hospital and Health Care Facilities
  • utility groups, both public and private.

For more information on the Castlegar Emergency Program contact Duane Monsen, Deputy Fire Chief at 365-7535 or 365-3266 .

View the Emergency Program Bylaw No. 828


Emergency Planning for Your Family

When planning for your family response in a disaster or emergency, several plan components will remain the same regardless of the type of event. An emergency bag, first aid pack or other response equipment located where it may be inaccessible will do no good in the event of a real emergency. Ensure every member of the family knows at least two routes out of the house. Plan together and practice a real evacuation of your home at least twice a year.

Remember not to give too much information to a young child, but ensure they have enough knowledge to survive.

Planning for general emergencies includes knowing:

  • evacuation routes
  • gathering points/contact numbers
  • the location of personal equipment (grab'n'go bag, fire extinguishers, etc.)
  • safe meeting locations (ie. Reception Centres)
  • contacts such as police, fire, relatives, neighbours, etc.
  • how to shut off power, gas and water.

Preplanning these points may save the life of a loved one. Also, a little planning will help younger children to avoid panic in a real situation.

FAILING TO PLAN is PLANNING TO FAIL!


Grab'N'Go Bag

Having a grab'n'go bag located where it can be reached is important. The purpose of a grab'n'go bag is to be prepared in the event of a disaster.

Make sure you keep it accessible, either in the trunk of your car, garage, or in the house in a convenient place.

Contents of your kit should include:

  • medications you have to take regularly
  • change of clothing
  • shoes or boots
  • phone list of family members, especially out-of-town contacts
  • change for pay phones
  • first aid supplies
  • flashlight
  • portable radio
  • spare batteries
  • toilet paper
  • important papers such as birth certificates
  • personal hygiene items
  • sleeping bag
  • bottled or bagged water
  • small snacks
  • list of all persons and pets living in your home
  • playing cards or other entertainment.

Having a grab'n'go bag in the event of disaster may not save your life, but it will make it easier.


Evacuations

When an actual evacuation is required, notification will usually come over the radio and by direct notice. Evacuations from areas of the City or from the entire community are only required in dire situations and may require rapid response on your part. If you do not have transportation, ensure the official notifying you is aware. Follow their instructions regarding transportation.

Plan ahead to stay with family or friends if possible and be prepared to leave for up to 72 hours. Be sure to take any medications required, pets and pet food, and have contact lists available for family members.

Often you may vacate without any further notification, but you may need to check in at a reception centre depending upon the circumstances. Know ahead of time both alternative routes through and out of town.

Never park your vehicle without enough gas to at least get you to a nearby community in case gasoline products are suddenly unavailable locally. When travelling under emergency conditions you should have both a grab'n'go bag and blankets or sleeping bags in case you become stranded due to heavy traffic or environmental conditions.

For further information on evacuations you may contact Dan Tomlinson from the Castlegar Emergency Program at (250) 365-0504 or (250) 365-7227.


Major Disasters

In a major disaster the first person to respond is you. Because no response will be successful unless you are healthy, your personal safety and well being must come first. Depending upon the type of disaster a number of different things will be done. Ensure that you are not in any immediate danger. Size up or assess the situation. Rescue or assist anyone within your own limitations. If you attempt to help someone and you are not fully trained or capable, the next rescuers may need to help you too. If possible, limit exposures to or from the disaster or situation.

Where you are trained or able, containing a situation becomes the next step in dealing with the immediate problem. Do not attempt to extinguish or solve the problem unless you are able and qualified. There is no benefit in masking a situation and creating a false sense of security. Salvaging personal effects is less important, however, sometimes medications or other items can be safely taken or removed from potentially dangerous situations. When safe to do so, cleaning up from the disaster is the final step to a full and rapid recovery.

In a major disaster always deal with life-threatening situations first. The life you save may be your own. For further information or more details on what you can do in a major disaster, contact Dan Tomlinson from the Castlegar Emergency Program at (250) 365-0504 or (250) 365-7227.


Planning for Power Outages

One of the most difficult things to plan for in an urban community is an extended power failure or cold-weather power outage. Electricity is the number one commodity used in nearly every urban centre. Arrangements must be made for alternative methods of heating, cooking food, providing hot water, providing light,and for many, entertainment.

For further information on dealing with power outages contact your local power company or Dan Tomlinson from the Castlegar Emergency Program at (250) 365-0504 or (250) 365-7227.


Block Planning

Block planning is an advanced planning method being used by progressive communities throughout the world. This type of planning is extremely localized and will ensure the greatest number of survivors in a major disaster. Similar active plans have had success in communities such as Victoria, Sunnyville and Oakland.

Municipalities usually coordinate planning efforts, however, they are not required to start one. In some smaller communities and rural areas this type of planning is done by the homeowners and area residents irrespective of the service providers. Knowing your neighbours and letting them get to know you is the beginning of any block plan. Having a block captain and an alternative for organizing will start the process. Remember when planning, anyone essential to your planning could be absent during the disaster.

When planning with neighbours, even for minor things, you are block planning. In an emergency, the more localized and continual the planning, the greater your chances of success.

For further information on Block Planning contact the Provincial Emergency Program or Dan Tomlinson from the Castlegar Emergency Program at (250) 365-0504 or (250) 365-7227.