The Regional District of Fraser Fort-George is working on getting all member municipalities, along with the Lheidli T’enneh and the Mcleod Lake Indian Band on the same emergency management program.
Under law, city governments have their own separate emergency plans. First Nations have a different agreement, but it is still the legislated obligation of the Regional District to coordinate a response to emergencies. Emergency Services Coordinator with the RD, Michael Higgins, hopes to determine the feasibility of a region wide program. “Everyone has one, but a lot of them are off the corner of their desk right now, so one of the hopes is to better serve the population by consolidating our resources and being able to work together.”
The hope is to get everyone on the same page when it comes to evacuation orders, notices, or alerts. Higgins said there’s a strong focus on wildfires, flooding, and wind storms that are prone in northern British Columbia. “If there was an evacuation out in the rural areas or electoral areas, people would be coming to Prince George,” he said. “There’s a huge opportunity there to synchronize our planning and our preparedness activities between the Regional District, the City, and the member municipalities.”
The Regional District of Fraser-Fort George hopes to introduce its new emergency management plan to member councils in the next couple of months. If approved, the final cost will be determined by what services each local government might need.