Questions about the District's Emergency Program can be directed to EmergencyProgram@CSaanich.ca.
Plan. Prepare. Be Aware.
1. Build a Kit
When disaster hits, there won't be time to collect emergency supplies. Ensure you have emergency kits for your home, workplace and vehicle. They should all contain food, water and supplies for a minimum of 7 days.
2. Make a Plan
A household plan will help you cope with the stress of emergencies. Make your plan here: PreparedBC: Household Emergency Plan.
3. Sign up for Saanich Peninsula Alert
Central Saanich has a notification system that staff at our Emergency Operations Centre can activate in an emergency. Sign up today.
4. Get Informed
Below are some the events that could impact us, and how you can prepare for them.
Knowing which hazards you need to plan for is the first step to getting prepared. Not sure what to prepare for? Use Emergency Management BC's hazard map to see what could occur near you.
A wind-driven wildland fire, out of control and moving fast can quickly spread from the forest to threaten your family’s safety, home and property. In addition, wildland fire can damage or destroy a variety of farm assets including barns and service buildings, crops and feed, fences and corrals. Livestock and other farm animals are also at risk from wildland fire. Some wildfires simply cannot be controlled, due to terrain, fuels, wind, concern for firefighter safety, and other factors. But there are things you, the property owner, can do to protect yourself.
A wildland fire is affected by several factors such as: the amount and type of vegetation near your home, the design, building material selection and placement of your home and whether or not you have planned for a wildland fire emergency.
We would like to help you and your family prepare in the event that a wildland fire affects our community. The summer of 2003 reminds us of the devastation and tragedy a fire can bring to a community. If you live in an urban interface area the Central Saanich Fire Department would like to share with you some ways to protect your family and property. Please call Central Saanich Fire Prevention Inquiries at 250-544-4225 or 250-544-4240.
Six steps to protect your property from wildfire
- Remove fuels surrounding your home and outbuildings
- Keep embers and firebrands from entering your home
- Create a wildland fire safety plan for your property
- Reduce the risk of fires on your property
- Ensure your address is visible and you have good driveway access
- Review the wildland fire risk checklist
Winter storms can create personal safety issues if you are not prepared. Following weather forecasts and paying attention to personal emergency preparedness will reduce any possible impacts to your family and your property. It is a good idea to make a habit of listening to local radio or television stations for weather warnings and advice.
Hazards and Risks Association With Winter Weather Include:
- Car accidents due to slippery roadways;
- Slips and falls on slippery walkways;
- Falls from heights (e.g. cleaning the gutters or roof);
- Hypothermia and frostbite due to exposure;
- Being struck by falling objects such as tree branches;
- Risks due to downed power lines or downed objects in contact with power lines;
- Roof collapse or property damage under weight of snow or falling trees;
- Exhaustion, exposure or dehydration;
- Isolation and lack of basic supplies including prescription medications;
- Stranded motorists;
- Injuries while shovelling snow;
- Melting snow or storm surges causing flooding; or,
- Home fire safety risk.
Most home-heating systems depend on electric power. To prepare for a power failure, you may consider installing a nonelectric standby stove or heater. Choose approved heating units that do not depend on an electric motor, electric fan or other electrical device to function. If the standby heating unit uses the normal house oil or gas supply, ensure that it is connected and vented properly.
Before considering the use of an emergency home generator during a power outage, check with the dealer or manufacturer regarding power requirements and proper operating procedures. Use caution and follow directions when operating generators, ensuring they are in a proper, well-ventilated area. Do not connect your home portable generator directly to a house wiring system without the proper installation of an approved transfer switch and an inspection and approval by an electrical inspector.
Furnace and fireplace maintenance considerations are very important in preparing for winter weather. Never use a camp stove, barbecue, or propane or kerosene heater indoors. A build-up of carbon monoxide gas in unventilated areas can be deadly.
If Your Home Heating System Fails
Should your home heating system fails:
- Remain calm – your house may remain warm for several hours.
- Avoid opening doors unnecessarily.
- During a power failure, turn off all electrical appliances.
- If you have a safe, approved alternate heat source, begin using it before the house cools down.
- Ensure that you maintain adequate ventilation.
- Stay warm by dressing in layers and bringing out extra blankets.
- Consider closing off one room for primary heating and use.
- If concerned about pipes freezing, opening a tap even a small amount may keep water moving through the system enough to keep pipes from freezing.
Remember, stairways and sidewalks may be icy and increase the risk of falls. Keep these areas clear and snow free. Consider using some salt, sand or other material to provide traction in these areas.
Windchill is a combination of cold temperatures and wind conditions which may cause rapid loss of body temperature. Excess windchill may require special precautions for outdoor activities. If frostbite or hypothermia is suspected, know how to begin warming the person slowly and seek immediate medical assistance.
In extreme conditions, some people may want to make arrangements to stay with relatives, friends, or neighbours. Listen to weather forecasts and instructions from local officials, as reception or warming centres may be set-up in your community. Keep an eye out for neighbours who may be at risk in severe conditions. Always follow the instructions of first responders and local emergency officials.
Ensure a supply of basic essentials is in your home for at least 72 hours. If you must leave your home on short notice, remember to take your emergency “grab and go” kit. This should include:
- Flashlight and battery powered radio;
- Extra clothing;
- Essential medicines and toiletries;
- Essential emergency supplies including water and food;
- First Aid Kit; and,
- Important documents, cash and family identification.
Although most power outages last for just a few minutes, in extreme cases such as during severe weather events, outages can last for longer periods of time. Extended power outages do happen from time to time, so it makes sense to be prepared.
Think ahead and have a flashlight, electric lantern, extra batteries and candles on supply.
Remember to use candles with caution and with proper candle holders. Never leave candles unattended, as they can be a potential fire hazard. It is recommended to use flashlights or electric lanterns instead.
Prepare for possible isolation in your home and consider an alternative safe heating system. Also ensure that you have sufficient heating fuel for fire places or wood burning stoves. Every home should have smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and sprinklers. Families should have a fire escape plan in place.
It is a good idea to assess the trees on your property and trim dead branches to reduce the danger of them falling onto power lines or your house during a storm.
Stay away from fallen power lines. A hanging power line could be charged (live) and you may run the risk of electrocution. Also, remember that ice, branches or power lines can continue to break and fall for several hours after the end of the storm.
For more information, see BC Hydro's Outage Preparation Checklist.
Here are some tips for keeping cool and COVID-19 safe.
- Protect yourself from the sun by staying in the shade, avoiding direct sun mid-day, wearing a hat and protective clothing, using sunscreen, and wearing UV-protective eyewear.
- Seek cooler, breezier areas when outdoors, such as large parks near to water with lots of trees.
- Stay hydrated – drink water regularly, even more than you think you need.
- Take it slow with outdoor activities – rest and relax often if you feel fatigued.
- Avoid crowded spaces and maintain a 2-meter distance from others as much as possible.
- NEVER leave children or pets alone in a parked car. Temperatures can rise rapidly in enclosed vehicles, becoming much hotter than the outdoor temperature.
- Seek out an air-conditioned facility (such as a shopping centre, library, community centre or restaurant).
- Check the website of your municipality for locations of air-conditioned facilities.
- At this time the risks from extreme heat exceed risks from COVID-19. While the Extreme Heat Alert is in place:
No one should be denied access to these centres because of concerns about crowding or physical distancing.
- Make your home as comfortable as possible.
- Close blinds and shutters during the daytime and open them at night. Open your windows at night to let in cooler air. If you have children in your home, make sure you’ve taken precautions to prevent falls from windows and balconies.
- If you have air conditioning, use it to take the edge off indoor heat -- but don’t over-cool and remember that circulation of fresh air is important for reducing COVID-19 risk.
- If you don’t have air-conditioning, take shelter in the coolest room in your home and use a fan. Blowing a fan across a pan of ice water can create a cool breeze.
- Cool showers and misting yourself and your clothing with cool water will help keep you from overheating
- Stay hydrated---drink water regularly, even more than you think you need.
- Relatives, friends, and neighbours should check in regularly with vulnerable people by phone or video.
How to prepare
There are simple steps you can take in and around your home and property to help prevent flood damage.
- Store valuables and important items or documents in water-tight containers or in higher places, like on a tall shelf or upper floor
- Clean your gutters regularly
- Keep nearby storm drains clear of debris
- In the winter, clear snow at least 3-5 feet away from your home's foundation
How to build a sandbag dike (from PreparedBC)
You can prevent or reduce flood damage to your home by building a sandbag dike. It takes two people about one hour to fill and place 100 sandbags, giving you a 1-x-20-foot wall. Contact your local government for information on obtaining sandbags.
|Height above dike||Bags required|
- Locate the sandbag dike on high ground as close as possible to your home.
- Dig a bonding trench, one sack deep by two sacks wide.
- Alternate the direction of sacks (e.g. bottom layer length-wise with dike, next layer crosswise).
- Sacks should be approximately half-filled with clay, silt or sand.
- Tying or sewing of sacks is not necessary.
- Lap unfilled portion under next sack.
- Press firmly in place.
Find more resources at PreparedBC.
It's important to stay informed when a pandemic is expected. You can do this by paying attention to the trusted sources below:
Check for current Public Health Alerts from HealthLinkBC.
PreparedBC and the Central Saanich Emergency Program will share preparedness suggestions on social media platforms throughout the week to allow residents to:
- Understand what tsunami zone you live in – what the hazards are, and how to prepare.
- Differentiate between the different Tsunami Alert Levels: 1) Tsunami Watch 2) Tsunami Advisory and 3) Tsunami Warning, and actions to take during each alert level.
- Know where high ground is If you are in a tsunami inundation zone.
- Practice reaching a tsunami safe zone by participating in the Virtual Hike to High Ground event (and enter the contest to win prizes).
- Sign up for Saanich Peninsula Alert to ensure you receive tsunami alert notifications.
Did you know that 90% of the residences in Central Saanich, and all schools, are safe from the threat of a tsunami as they are located on high ground and outside of the tsunami inundation zone?
A Local Tsunami (caused by a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake off the Pacific Coast of Vancouver Island) is the main tsunami threat in the Capital Region and is associated with a “felt” earthquake. Feeling a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake will be an early warning sign of a potential tsunami; however, the earthquake will need to be substantial to trigger a significant tsunami.
During a significant event in Central Saanich, the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) will be activated for a coordinated response to the event. We have designated receptions centres throughout the municipality and the location would be noted during the time of the event. The Reception Centre would be open to support residents who have been evacuated from their homes. Central Saanich specific tsunami inundation zone maps are currently being finalized as part of a regional tsunami mapping project and will soon be available to the public on the our website.
- If you hear that a tsunami Watch is in place this is your notification that a tsunami threat may exist and you should follow all instructions carefully. Check this website, follow @CSaanichFire or @CSaanich on Twitter and listen to your AM/FM radio for further details.
- If you hear that a tsunami Warning is in place this is your notification that a tsunami is expected. Verify that the notice includes this area and if it does move inland to an area that is outside the tsunami planning zone.
- If you hear a tsunami cancellation message, this is your notification there is no tsunami threat to your area.
All residents in Central Saanich should be prepared for an emergency at all times. Plan to be self-sufficient for one week – local emergency responders will be overwhelmed during a significant event. Consider pets and children’s needs. It is critical that you Prepare Yourself! Understand the risks, make a household emergency plan, and get your emergency kit together.