By Haley Grinder
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) is urging proactive measures among residents as the B.C. River Forecast Centre issues a High-Streamflow Advisory for the East Kootenay region.
“With the forecast calling for a series of rain events over the next few days, it is critical that residents be aware and prepared,” says Information Officer for the RDEK, Loree Duczek, in a press release. “From staying away from local creeks and waterways to making sure you are registered for the Regional Evacuation Notification System, sandbagging if you live in flood-prone areas, and having a grab and go kit and emergency plan ready, there are several things we can do to be proactive in the event we experience localized flooding as a result of the forecasted rain.”
Affected citizens are encouraged to utilize any of the three self-fill sandbag stations set up by the RDEK— in Hosmer, Fernie, and Cranbrook. They are instructed to bring their own shovels and gloves.
The current weather changes, in particular the warmer temperatures and ground saturation, are causing increasingly unstable and erratic conditions around flowing water bodies. Duczek stresses residents in the area to, “please stay well back from all creeks and rivers as banks can be potentially unstable and conditions can change quickly with little to no warning.”
There is a Regional Evacuation Notification System in operation to help keep residents aware of critical event alerts related to natural disasters or hazardous material incidents. Duczek says the service is both free and anonymous for those in the area. “It’s available to everyone in the East Kootenay, including municipalities, rural areas and First Nations. The notification system is one of the most powerful tools we have to help us get the word out as quickly as possible to affected areas when time is of the essence.”
For those interested in signing up or learning more, visit the Emergency Information page at www.rdek.bc.ca.