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.
The District has developed a Heat Response Plan so we can act fast when extreme heat is forecasted. Find out more HERE
Extreme heat can put your health at risk. It is important to take steps to protect yourself and your family. While extreme heat can put everyone at risk from heat illnesses, health risks are greatest for:
- Older adults
- Infants and young children
- People with chronic illnesses (like breathing problems, mental illness, and heart problems)
- People who work in the heat
- People who exercise in the heat
Here are tips for how you can protect yourself and your neighbours
- Check on your neighbours
- Do not leave young children or pets in your vehicle
- If you're planning to travel, check the forecast at your destination
- Keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm.
- If you must go out in the heat, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection.
- Avoid extreme physical exertion. If you can’t avoid outdoor activities, like sport, or gardening, keep it for cooler parts of the day, like early morning or evening.
- Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes and a hat to shade your face, neck, and ears.
- Wear sun protection factor: factor 30 or over on any areas that cannot be covered by clothing and a hat.
- Young children, especially babies, and the elderly are more susceptible to sun damage so be extra careful.
Help others in our community
Extreme weather emergencies primarily endanger seniors over age 65 and others who may have health issues or take certain mediations. You can help:
- Check on others if you can, especially those who live alone. You might save a life.
- Visit in-person so you can observe the symptoms of extreme weather stress.
- If you cannot visit, contact them by phone or video, but be aware that some people may say they feel fine even when they have some severe symptoms.
- Help anyone with symptoms by following the precautions, take them to a Warming/Cooling Centre, if possible.
Pay close attention to how you - and those around you - feel
The symptoms of extreme weather-related illness can range from mild to severe. They include:
- Heavy sweating
- Muscle cramps
- Swelling, especially hands and feet
- Fatigue and weakness, light-headedness
- Confused thinking
- Nausea and/or vomiting
If you experience severe symptoms
- Let a neighbour know how you are feeling, someone who can help you.
- Call 911.
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.