Emergency Preparedness


Emergency Preparedness

Prepare your home and business for emergencies.

The City of Merritt creates, implements, and maintains an all-hazard emergency management program that prepares the City to respond to and recover from major emergencies and disasters.

Individuals, families, and businesses can support our community’s resiliency by doing their part in being personally prepared for up to 72 hours and ensuring their emergency plans and business continuity plans are in place.


Know the risks

Make a plan!

Get an emergency kit!

Stay Informed

We regularly share updates relevant for residents via our social media accounts and Voyent Alert! In the event of an emergency, you can find City of Merritt information here:

Including local media partner:

Other emergency resources and government agencies:

Online Registration for Evacuees

Non-emergency preparedness resources can also be found at:

Recovery & Business Continuity Information

Information for the Coldwater Recovery can be found at: merritt.ca/flood

Other Disaster Recovery Resources:

Emergency Management Definitions

Authority having jurisdiction (AHJ)-The organization (political or private), office, or individual responsible for approving a plan, program, procedure or expenditure or having ownership of equipment, materials, or a facility.

Disaster- A serious disruption to an affected area, involving widespread human, property, environmental and / or economic impacts, that exceed the ability of one or more affected communities to cope using their own resources.

Emergency- A geographic area within which an emergency has occurred or is about to occur, and which has been identified, defined and designated to receive emergency response actions.

Emergency Operations Center (EOC)- A designated and appropriately equipped facility where officials from an organization(s) assemble to manage the response to an emergency or disaster.

Emergency Support Services (ESS)- provides short-term basic support to people impacted by disasters. The program is financed by Emergency Management BC (EMBC) and administered by Indigenous communities and local governments.

Evacuation Alert- This is the time to get prepared to leave your home on short notice. Get your grab-and-go bags ready (which should include several days of clothing, toiletries and medications), your emergency plan, copies of important documents and important mementos.

Evacuation Order– Leave the area immediately. Follow the directions of local emergency officials and evacuate using the route(s) they’ve identified. Do not return home until you’ve been advised that the Evacuation Order has been rescinded. For those needing additional support, an Emergency Support Services Reception Centre may be opened.

Evacuation Rescind- Once local officials determine the situation is currently safe, the evacuation will be rescinded and you can return home. Continue to stay tuned for other possible evacuation alerts or orders.

Local State of Emergency-Declaring a state of local emergency enables local authorities in the Province of British Columbia to exercise the emergency powers listed in the Emergency Program Act. The emergency powers are utilized by the local authority to order the evacuation of residents from their homes, prohibit travel and enter private property when an emergency threatens lives, property, or the environment within the local authority’s jurisdiction.

Shelter in Place- Shelter-in-place is the act of seeking safety within the building one already occupies, rather than evacuating the area or seeking a community emergency shelter.


The City appreciates your interest and willingness to assist.

During an emergency, the City cannot accept clothing or household items, as it doesn’t have the capacity to store or distribute them. Clothing and household items can be donated to local community agencies that accept these items on a regular basis (e.g., Nicola Valley Thrift Store)

The City cannot accept donations of prepared and/or store-bought food. Contact the local food bank to find out how you can donate. The City will work with local agencies to ensure resources are used to respond to the emergency.

Community agencies also accept financial donations, which can be used to purchase goods or services to assist evacuated residents.

Contact Information

For Krista Minar, Emergency Management Coordinator

kminar@merritt.ca |  (250) 378-5626


Emergency Management in BC is supported by a well-practiced and highly regarded structure that involves local communities developing Emergency Plans.  During major incidents or emergencies, these local plans are supported by responders and staff at the local and regional district level, supported in turn by the Province through Emergency Management BC.

Three Steps to Emergency Preparedness

Even the best of plans by your local government can only do so much. It is up to you, the resident, to follow three steps to Emergency Preparedness at home or at work:

  1. Know the risks
  2. Make a plan
  3. Get a kit

View/Download the PDF with full details

or go to getprepared.gc.ca

Wildland-Urban Interface Fires

Wildfire risk is a reality for those who work and reside in the City of Merritt. Staying informed during the wildfire season is a key to ensuring that when an event occurs, you, your business, and your family, are prepared to make the necessary steps to mitigate risk. See the Merritt Fire Rescue – Stay Informed page for more information.

Are you FireSmart? FireSmart is living with and managing for wildfires in our landscape. Research has shown that there are mitigation principles that all community members can apply to reduce the risk of property loss. To learn more see the Merritt Fire Rescue – Wildfire Safety page.

Other Emergency Resources

Although this site will be updated with any local information during a major emergency, there are a number of other agencies that provide useful information both for preparedness and about emergency situations. Find links to their websites below:

Flooding Preparedness

Preparedness is key in any emergency, including for a flood. Ensure you have a 72 hour disaster preparedness kit and an evacuation plan in place to be ready in the event of a flood. Visit the Get Prepared before a flood webpage for additional tips on what to do before, during and after a flood. Property owners in flood prone and low-lying areas are responsible for protecting their own properties from possible flood damage. Equipping yourself with a flood plan and the tools needed in case of a flood can help prepare you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is “freshet?”

While it sounds like it could be a brand of scented cleaner or facial tissue, freshet is the snow melt that typically occurs from April to July, in British Columbia. Freshet can become a problem when winter snow packs melt rapidly, overwhelming stream channels and creating floods.

  • The difference is overland flow versus seepage.
  • Water will overtop stream banks when flows are greater than the stream’s capacity to convey the volume of water from rain events and spring snow melt.
  • Groundwater damage will occur from seepage that occurs below the surface and finds its way through cracks and porous areas of a structure’s foundation.
  • Groundwater can be unpredictable. If property owners have historically experienced wet basements or seepage, they should prepare accordingly. Suggestions include installing a sump pump inside, below floor, or outside the structure, below basement level, at the location of seeping and/or making sure foundation drains (if present) are working.

What if I am worried my property will flood?

  • Private property owners are responsible for protecting their structures from possible flood damage and anyone who has historically experienced flooding should prepare accordingly. Equipping yourself with a flood plan and the tools needed in case of a flood can help prepare you.
  • Suggestions include making sure the ground is sloped away from your structures and water is directed away from your house by ditching or piping.
  • Do not to pump water into the sanitary sewer system.
  • Prepare a 72-hour kit for your family that includes food, water, a first-aid kit, identification and medications.
  • Know where the power and water shut-off is in your house.
  • Place your important documents and identification on an upper floor in a sealed plastic bag.
  • Have an evacuation plan, including for your pets or livestock.
  • Review insurance available for your property – some coverage is available for overland flow (groundwater damage is typically not covered).
  • Emergency Management BC expects property owners to obtain flood insurance, when and where available. Property owners who choose not to obtain flood insurance, where available, may not be eligible for Disaster Financial Assistance.

Where can I get more information?

  • Visit the Get Prepared website for additional tips on what to do before, during and after a flood.
  • During an emergency, the City of Merritt will release information on this website, to local media, as well as on our facebook page and twitter feed (@CityofMerritt).

What if I need to build a sandbag wall or dike?

In the event that a homeowner needs to construct a sandbag dike or wall to protect their property, residents are encouraged to review the sandbagging tips and information provided by Emergency Management BC.

What about landslide safety?

Landslides are one of the top 10 emergency hazards in British Columbia. Recognize the danger signs, including falling rocks or boulders, abnormally dirty water, a faint rumbling sound or unusual sounds such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together; Learn how to protect your home and property. If a landslide has occurred, stay away from the area as there may still be a danger of further slide activity or some flooding may occur in the aftermath.

PreparedBC: Landslide information for homeowners and home buyers