Heading Back Home Guide

May 22, 2023

When the Peace River Regional District has cancelled an Evacuation Order, allowing you to return to your property and community, it’s important to use caution as there may be hazards remaining in the area.

Not sure if your property is in an Order or Alert area?

Use our Online Map Tool:

To search for your address to see if your property is under an Evacuation Order or an Evacuation Alert, you can use the Map Tool at http://ow.ly/fnHU50OpKnH and enter your address in the search bar at the top.

Before You Go Back Home

You are advised to bring basic necessities with you.

Do you have the following? Plan ahead.

  • A full tank of gas
  • Personal protective equipment such as hard-soled boots or shoes, face mask, heavy + rubber gloves
  • A flashlight, tools, cleaning supplies, trash bags and a first aid kit
  • Enough food and drinking water, including any special dietary needs
  • Medications
  • Food for your pets
  • Special mobility or other needs

Be Safe When Entering Your Community

Once you re-enter your local community, stay observant and connected, as conditions may change suddenly.

Please help us reach you quickly in the event of an emergency!
Subscribe to the Peace River Regional District Emergency Alert system to receive emergency information via email, texts, or automated voice calls.
To register, go to North East BC.

Depending on the nature of the emergency, remaining hazards may include heavy equipment and ongoing operations, impacts to roads and structures, damaged trees, unstable slopes, displaced wildlife, and property damage that may include contaminated foods and refrigeration equipment.

Please notify the Peace River Regional District of any safety concerns by calling 250-784-3200.

Some nearby properties may remain on Evacuation Order or be subject to new Evacuation Orders in the future due to public safety concerns. Please respect restricted/on-order areas.

Your property may remain within an Evacuation Alert area; if so, be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.

Regularly check the Peace River Regional District website for current information on Emergency Orders, Alerts and news.

Inspect Your Home

Walk carefully around the outside of your home before entering and check for fire, water and smoke damage, debris, loose power lines, gas leaks and any other structural damage, and wildlife such as bears and coyotes. To report general concerns, call: Peace River Regional District at 250-784-3200.

Natural Gas

When first entering your building(s) do not smoke, light matches or operate electrical switches and electronics. If you smell natural gas as you enter (smells like rotten eggs) exit the building immediately, leaving the door and any already open windows open behind you. Then, from a safe distance, contact the Pacific Northern Gas Emergency line.

If your gas has been shut off, contact Pacific Northern Gas Emergency 24-Hour Service: 1-800-663-1173

BC Hydro

If you have questions, have no service, or are experiencing fluctuations in electrical service quality, contact BC Hydro. BC Hydro at 1-888-769 3766 or *49376 on your cell phone.

Road Access

Even though your property may no longer be within an Evacuation Order, heavy equipment and other operations related to the incident may be ongoing in the local area. Use caution.

Cleaning Up

Perishable Food: When deciding what food to keep or throw away, remember the motto: When in doubt, throw it out!

Read below “Waste Disposal & Refrigeration Disposal” to learn about options for waste disposal. If you have any questions about safely disposing of spoiled food, please contact the Environmental Health Officer at your local Health Unit.

Cleaning Fridges & Freezers: The property owner must determine if their refrigeration unit(s) can be appropriately cleaned for use or should be replaced (at the owner’s expense). Contact your home insurance provider to see if this cost is covered.

  • Individuals who undertake cleaning should take preventive measures such as wearing protective gloves and a good quality mask (N-95 or better) to prevent inhalation of mould / microbiological matter. Goggles are recommended.
  • If possible, move refrigeration appliances outside to empty, clean and ventilate to minimize air quality issues indoors.
  • Double bag garbage (rotten food in the refrigeration units) and tie it at once to prevent the airborne spread of moulds and odours. Air out / ventilate interior spaces, leaving doors and windows open and exhaust fans on.
  • Individuals with asthma, COPD and other breathing-related illnesses should exercise particular care.
  • A 1000 ppm bleach solution (3 tablespoons of bleach in a litre of water) will suffice for proper disinfection. Ideally, the bleach solution should be sprayed or wiped and left for 5 to 10 minutes for adequate contact time

Waste Disposal & Refrigeration Disposal: Emergencies often result in damage to property or contents and this may include contaminated or spoiled food, contaminate or damaged refrigeration appliances and other items. Contact your insurance company for coverage details.

All spoiled foods, and any other items wherever possible, must be securely bagged before transporting to a PRRD waste facility. Do not store bagged foodstuffs where animals can access. Refrigeration appliances must have all doors securely taped to prevent them from opening for safety and before they will be accepted at a waste facility.

Property owners and residents each year receive from PRRD four coupons providing tipping access at any district waste facility. If you have not received your coupons for this year, please contact Peace River Regional District at 250-784-3200 and ask for the Finance Department.

Additionally, annually there are two seasonal cleanup opportunities providing free tipping. Click here for details. Note: These offers are only available to residents or property owners hauling their own waste.

Water & Sewage: Verify your water supply and waste systems are functioning normally and that you have notified your water provider that you have returned home and if needed, require service.

Northern Health advises that if your water source is a well, please test it for water quality before consumption.

You can find Northern Health water sample drop-off locations here.

For information on how to disinfect a water well, please click here.

Residents with potable water cisterns should check the cistern and pipe integrity (breakage and leaks). Flushing out any stagnant water and refilling is recommended.

Call 250-263-6000-Option 7 for any questions related to drinking water safety.

Taking Care Of Yourself

Northern Health advises that it is natural to have feelings of fear, anxiety, powerlessness, sadness or anger following a stressful or traumatic event. To help yourself and your loved ones:

  • Expect many different thoughts, feelings and emotions throughout your days and the coming weeks.  Give yourself and others time, support and kindness to move through it.
  • Connect with family and friends – spend time together over a meal or an activity.
  • Make time for activities that make you feel good – walk with a friend, exercise, take a long bath, or listen to your favourite music.
  • Stick to your regular routine – go to bed and get up at your normal time, nourish your body and exercise daily.
  • You are a role model for your children.  They learn to cope with disaster by watching how we do it, so be open, talk to them and include them in whatever way works for you. Get age-appropriate tips to involve them by checking out the Canadian Mental Health Association.

In case of crisis, reach out for help by calling and explaining your circumstances:

  • Emergency: 9-1-1
  • Crisis: 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-­2433)

Talking can help.

  • CMHA #TalkInToughTimes 1-977-427-4884.
  • BC’s 310Mental Health Support Line 24 hours a day at 310-6789 (do not add an area code).
  • KUU-US Crisis Response Service at 1-800-588-8717 provides culturally-aware crisis support for Indigenous peoples in BC.
  • Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Service at 1-800-663-1441 can help you find resources and support.

Northern Health Virtual Primary & Community Care Clinic at 1-844-645-7811 offers access to a family doctor or nurse practitioner, including for mental health needs.

Emergency Preparedness

Reassess your personal and family readiness should a future disaster occur. Having an emergency plan and emergency kits (home, vehicle and workplace) will help you to be more prepared for emergencies and evacuations.

Links for personal preparedness:

Community Resources

Resiliency Centre: Established temporarily for emergency responses having a broad impact on a community, a Resiliency Centre is a drop-in center for affected residents to connect with community resources. To learn if a Resiliency Centre has been established for the incident impacting you, check the Peace River Regional District website or call 250-784-3200.

Emergency Support Services: Support services are short-term (usually available for no more than 72 hours) food, lodging and other supports provided to those impacted by evacuation orders and certain other circumstances. When orders are lifted and it is safe to return home, such supports terminate. Therefore, while receiving Emergency Support Services, you must start making arrangements for your return home or locate alternative accommodations if returning home is impossible. If you need additional information on ESS or cannot plan your own return home, please speak to the ESS team assisting you or contact Peace River Regional District at 250-784-3200.

Disaster Financial Assistance: If you have insurance, contact your provider ASAP.

The provincial government may declare the event eligible for Disaster Financial Assistance (DFA) after a disaster. Once declared, the DFA program may provide applicants financial assistance to restore uninsurable losses essential to their home, livelihood or community service.

Note: Not all losses are eligible for DFA support. For example, no provincial funding stream is currently available to provide financial assistance for wildfire damage, as these losses would be covered under insurance or are considered insurable.

For more information on Disaster Financial Assistance, please click here.

Mental Health Support Line: To reach a mental health support worker trained to provide emotional and Mental Health support 24 hours a day: Call 310-6789 (do not add an area code before the number) or check out their website.

Employee Assistance Programs: Your employer may have an employee assistance program (EAP). EAP is a work-based intervention program designed to identify and assist employees in resolving personal problems (e.g., marital, financial or emotional problems; family issues; substance/alcohol abuse) that may adversely affect the employee’s performance. Please get in touch with your employer to see if this service is available.

HealthLink BC: To access free, non-emergency health information for anyone in your family, including mental health information. You can also speak to a registered nurse about symptoms you’re worried about or talk with a pharmacist about medication questions. Call 811 or click here.

For More Information

Peace River Regional District Emergency Operations Centre & Social Media

Phone:                                           250-784-3200

Email (during emergency):           emergency-info@prrd.bc.ca

Website:                                        www.prrd.bc.ca

Facebook:                                      https://www.facebook.com/OfficialPRRD/

Twitter:                                         https://twitter.com/prrdistrict

Community Contacts

Police, Ambulance:

Emergency                                    9-1-1

Police-Non-Emergency                Find non-emergency number for your area

Resiliency Centre

(Contact PRRD at 250-784-3200 for current information)

Pacific Northern Gas                                      1-800-663-1173

BC Hydro                                                         1-888-769 3766

Telus                                                                1-800-663-0333

Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure 250-787-3237

MOTI Road Contractor – North Peace           1-800-842-4122

MOTI Road Contractor – South Peace           1-800-663-7623

Northern Health – Health Units     

Health Link BC                                                811

Mental Health Support Line                          310-6789

(do not add an area code before the number)

Talk In Tough Times                                       1-877-427-4884

BC Assessment Authority                            1-866-825-8322

Insurance Bureau of Canada                         1-844-227-5422

Disaster Financial Assistance                        1-888-257-4777

Emergency Info BC                                       250-952-4913

Heading Back Home Guide V3

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