Personal preparedness is a key focus as Emergency Preparedness Week gets underway across Canada.

As part of its efforts to ensure residents are prepared, the RDEK is encouraging residents who have not already done so, to sign up for the regional Evacuation Notification System (ENS). “The notification system is only used for evacuation alerts or orders and has been implemented as an additional tool to help us get the word out as quickly as possible to affected areas when time is of the essence,” explains RDEK Communications Manager Loree Duczek. The RDEK is urging residents to register by Thursday as they are planning a region-wide test of the system on Friday, May 6 at 11:00am.

Powered by Voyent Alert! to keep residents and property owners informed in case of evacuation orders or alerts during critical events such as wildfires, floods or hazardous materials incidents, the notification system is an important tool for residents to have, particularly as we head into the spring and summer, when flooding and wildfire are two hazards we face in the East Kootenay.

“People have to register to receive notifications and can add as many locations in the East Kootenay as they would like. Once they have registered at least one location, they can choose to receive notifications via text or phone. There is also an app that can be downloaded to smartphones,” says Duczek.

For instructions on how to sign up for the service and receive notifications by phone, both to landlines and mobile phones, or via a dedicated app, visit the Emergency Information page on www.rdek.bc.ca.

In addition to the test of the ENS, the RDEK will be focusing its communications on how residents can help ensure they are prepared in the event they experience an emergency event. “From making an emergency kit, to having – and practicing – a family escape plan, there are a number of simple, but important things each of us can do to be better prepared,” says Duczek. To access toolkits, how-to guides and more, visit www.getprepared.ca.

The public libraries in the region are joining in on the education efforts and will have information, emergency-related books, and take-away brochures on display all week. Each location will also be running a draw to win an Emergency Preparedness Kit. The draws will be made at the end of the week.

Saturday, May 7 is also Community Wildfire Preparedness Day, which is intended to encourage residents to learn about FireSmart and take steps to help reduce the risk of wildfire on their homes and properties. Representatives from the East Kootenay FireSmart program will have info booths set up in Windermere, Cranbrook and Baynes Lake. For more information and event details, visit engage.rdek.bc.ca/firesmart.

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