Regional District of Central Kootenay emergency co-ordinator Alanna Garrett appeared before Creston town council at Tuesday’s regular meeting to outline procedures the Town of Creston is expected to follow in the event of an emergency.
Garrett and Iain Bell, town engineering and public works director, explained to council that it would normally be responsible as a group for declaring a state of emergency, but that the mayor can act alone, on the advice of staff, if the situation warrants.
“The number of emergencies (more than 10) the RDCK has declared this summer is unprecedented in my 11 years in this position,” Garrett said.
Emergency declarations are the first step in a series that must be taken so that local governments can apply for provincial emergency funds to offset costs.
Most of the emergencies signed by RDCK chair John Kettle this summer were provoked by water-related events, including the mudslides at Johnson’s Landing on Kootenay Lake, which claimed four lives, and Goat River south of Creston.
Garrett said that states of emergency can include evacuation alerts and orders. An alert, she said, involves warning residents that they should prepare for the possibility that they should leave home. An evacuation order serves as a strong recommendation that all residents leave an area.
Adults, she said, cannot be forced to leave unless they are impeding emergency personnel. Children, by law, are required to be evacuated.