As the growing number of wildfires in B.C. lead to more evacuation alerts and orders, the provincial government is urging those affected to register with Emergency Support Services, even if no support is needed, so loved ones and communities know where they are and that they are safe.
Evacuees can register for Emergency Support Services online by clicking here or by phone, toll-free at 1-800-585-9559.
Emergency Support Services is providing support throughout the province. Services provided include food, lodging, clothing, emotional support and information updates. Evacuee reception centres have been established in many communities, including Kamloops (on McArthur Island), Chilliwack, Kelowna, Merritt, 100 Mile House, Agassiz, Fort St. John, Kelowna, Pemberton and Williams Lake, with more locations being established.
In addition, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc has been feeding evacuees at its Powwow Grounds.
Given the widespread areas to which people have evacuated from the fire in Lytton and others, many are being identified and registered through the online evacuee registration tool.
The Canadian Red Cross has set up a family reunification line to help those impacted by the fires. Those looking for loved ones are encouraged to call the Canadian Red Cross family reunification line, toll-free at 1 800 863-6582.
An update on donations
Municipalities and evacuation centres may not be able to accept or manage material donations from members of the public or businesses.
Emergency Management BC is developing a plan to manage assistance that has been offered. Meanwhile, unless a community has asked for specific goods, British Columbians who wish to help are asked to make a monetary donation to trusted organizations, such as the United Way, Food Banks BC or the Canadian Red Cross, all of which are supporting the province and local authorities in helping those affected by the wildfires.
The United Way has relaucnhed its United for BC WIldfire Recovery Fund and seeded it with $200,000. Donations can be made by ckicking here.
Tips for donating carefully
• Avoid giving cash or using wire transfer services. Cheques should be made out to an organization, not an individual.
• Donations made online should be done only on secure websites.
• When asked for donations (over the phone, through an email or in person), ask the canvasser for identification or printed information about the charity.
• Beware of high-pressure tactics. A legitimate charity will still be there tomorrow. Feel free to take the information and sleep on it.
• Do an internet search for the charity's name and background.
* If you have concerns about the activities of a charitable organization, including its fundraising practices, call the Canada Revenue Agency, toll-free at 1-877- 442-2899.