Our member households and our neighbors have long expressed concern with ensuring we have an evacuation plan in place should a serious emergency arise. Although we all collectively face a number of threats, none are more concerning or likely to occur than wildfire. Our area has been designated at extreme fire risk within the Regional District and its clear we may need to evacuate at any time during our hot dry summers. With this in mind the CMRA Board has been meeting with RDN Emergency Planning staff with the goal of establishing a solid well understood evacuation plan. Fortunately, the RDN has also recently replaced a key bridge crossing the Little Qualicum River which re-establishes an important evacuation route. Our board would like this plan to be well understood by everyone in our area in time for our next fire season.
Below is a Q & A based on our discussions with the RDN. Please take the time to review these and please consider registering for the RDN voyent alert service. (link provided)
1. Q. Is there an evacuation plan in place for Corcan Meadowood?
A. As of 2020, we have been told by the Emergency Services Manager at the RDN, that they are updating the regional all hazard emergency plan, which should be completed in 2021. Evacuation Operational Guidelines are developed on the regional level as well. A grant application to the 2021 UBCM funding stream is planned to complete evacuation route planning specific to Area F now that the bridge is complete.
2. Q. What will the emergency plan include?
A. The RDN Regional Emergency Plan includes the Local Authority Responsibilities, the British Columbia Emergency Management System, hazards, risks and vulnerabilities, response organizations and their actions, Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) functions and responsibilities, public notification and information, logistical considerations, critical infrastructure and financial considerations. Stand alone procedures and documents are also developed that provide additional specialized information. The development of an Area F evacuation route plan is an example of a standalone document that provides additional in specialized information.
3. Q. How would we be notified of an emergency?
A. RDN Voyent Alert is the fastest way to receive notifications through phone, text or email but you must register to receive these notifications at www.rdn.bc.ca/voyent-alert The RDN will also use their website, social media and media outlets. Some emergencies may require immediate evacuations and door-to-door notification may occur.
4. Q. Who will contact the RDN in case of an emergency?
A. Our local fire department and/or B.C. fire services. Any response agency perceiving a need for enhanced coordination and support to any emergency will request activation of the RDN EOC.
5. Q. What evacuation routes are being considered in addition to our single road out?
A. 1. the replacement bridge over the Little Qualicum River at the “glory hole”.
2. the highway access on Nahmint Rd.
3. logging roads from the west end of Ashling Rd. through to Spider Lake Rd.
4. Little Qualicum River Falls Provincial park
6. Q. Who will organize and lead the evacuation?
A. The lead response agency on the scene (Incident Command) will work with the RDN Emergency Operations Centre. The RDN will issue an Evacuation Alert or Order and in collaboration with response agencies an evacuation is completed. The RDN will activate Emergency Support Services (ESS) to aid evacuees.
7. Q. How will we learn more about the evacuation plan?
A. Public consultation will occur during the development of the Area F evacuation route planning.