Wildfire evacuation drill in Campbell River

WatchCampbell River Search and Rescue volunteers knock on 750 doors to alert residents of approaching wildfire in evacuation drill.

Campbell River Search and Rescue volunteers went door to door in the south end Tuesday evening telling residents they need to evacuate.

It was only a drill that could apply to wildfires, floods or other disasters as well.

In this scenario, they knocked on 750 doors telling them they only have minutes to get leave.

“We want to make sure we’re ready if it happens here,” said Campbell River Search and Rescue (SAR) manager Dylan Baker. “We are issuing evacuation orders to residents in the area around our hall here on the theory that there’s a wildfire situation, an interface fire and they need to leave their homes fairly promptly.”

It’s a scenario that played out for real last Thursday in Santa Clarita, California and was recorded on a doorbell surveillance camera.

The video captured the frantic moments as a family gathered whatever belongings they could as a huge fire burned just a few streets away.

The purpose of this training exercise was to help Campbell River SAR be prepared to assist the RCMP in the event of an emergency that requires an evacuation. The evacuation team (led by RCMP and Campbell River SAR) used biodegradable two-foot coloured ribbons to indicate the exercise status of all premises.

“Residents in the boundary area can expect to see a ribbon tied around the front door-knob when their door can be seen from the road,” said Baker. “If their door is not visible from the road, a ribbon will be tied where it is visible from the street, possibly at the driveway entrance.”

Officials say it serves as a reminder to have a go-bag or list ready in case it happens here.

“Sit down and have that conversation with your family,” said Shaun Koopman, protective services co-ordinator for the Strathcona Regional District. “What do you want if you’re given five minutes notice to leave your home? Now there are some basic things you’ll see on every list like family pictures, documentation on a USB drive, but what makes your home and family you?”

He adds that while the Red Cross might assist you with your basic needs during an evacuation you should check your insurance to see if it specifically covers out of pocket expenses under a State of Local Emergency

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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