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:
- Know the risks
- Make a plan
- Get a kit
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:
- BC Wildfire Service (active fire information/fire bans)
- DriveBC (road conditions including closures)
- Air Quality Health Index (smoke levels health risks)
- Fire Smart (also through BC Wildfire)
- River Forecast Centre (freshet/flooding/snow pillow information)
- FortisBC (power outages, gas emergencies)
- BC Hydro (power outages)
- Interior Health (Health/Drinking Water Advisories)
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).
- Visit the Thompson-Nicola Regional District Emergency Page for up to date information on emergencies in our regional district.
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.