Emergency Preparedness

The Village’s priority is to create and safe place for us to live and work. Emergencies can happen anywhere and anytime. Everyone has a responsibility in emergency preparedness. Residents should be prepared to take care of themselves for at least 72 hours in the event of an emergency.

Pemberton Alert

Pemberton Alert is an emergency notification system that enables the Village of Pemberton to communicate important information quickly in the event of emergencies.

When an emergency occurs, telephone, text, email or mobile app messages will be sent to all registered contacts in the impacted area. The system enables us to provide you with critical information in a variety of situations, such as severe weather, wildfire, floods, debris flows, unexpected road closures, and any other emergency events that could impact you, your family and your community.

Pemberton Alert is powered by Voyent Alert! This free service is available to everyone living, working or visiting Pemberton.

Please note: Pemberton Alert provides emergency notifications for Village of Pemberton residents only. If you live in the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, sign up for SLRD Alert.

How to sign up for alerts

Option 1: Smart Phone Users

Download and install the Voyent Alert! app from the Apple or Google Play stores (Search “Voyent Alert").

Launch the app and follow the prompts to complete the set-up:

  • Mark your home location on the map or enter your address, and add any other locations that are important to you including workplaces, schools, friends and family, etc.
  • Be sure to click the button to agree to receive alerts.

Option 2: Email, Text (SMS) or Voice Messages

Register online to receive email, text or phone call (voice message) alerts.

  • Mark your home location on the map or enter your address, and add any other locations that are important to you including workplaces, schools, friends and family, etc.
  • Be sure to click the button to agree to receive alerts.

Please note: text and voice messages contain less information than messages received by mobile app or email. For best results, sign up for more than one message delivery option!

If you registered with our previous provider, your account will automatically be moved over to the new system.

Know the Hazards

Pemberton is set in a geographically complex yet beautiful natural environment. Located 8,000ft below the rugged peak of Mount Currie, the Village is vulnerable to a range of hazards from human caused, technological or natural by nature. Although Mount Currie’s impressive summit dominates the landscape, Mount Meager is largely responsible for the valley’s geology. Some hazards pose a potential risk year-round, while others come and go with the seasons. It is important to familiarize yourself and prepare for them accordingly.

Flood

There are two dominant climatic factors that result in peak flows in the Pemberton Valley.

  • Summer flooding from snow and glacier melt (mainly in July when seasonal high temperatures occur)
  • Intense fall and early winter rainstorms or rain on snow events which typically produce the highest flood flows

The Lillooet River traditionally floods in the fall, when rain-on-snow weather events overwhelm the carrying capacity of the Valley watercourses. This type of flooding typically occurs in October or November before the snowpack is of sufficient thickness to absorb much rain before releasing it to the lower ground and when the temperature is typically warm enough to produce rain in the entire watershed.

Flood Protection

The Pemberton Valley Dyking District is responsible for maintaining, adapting and upgrading the flood protection systems in the Pemberton Valley.

Wildfire

The Pemberton area is surrounded by forested areas and once burning a forest fire can spread quickly due to high winds. Hot and dry weather and excessive fuel loading often make forest areas particularly vulnerable to lightening strikes and human carelessness.

Find out how you can help reduce Pemberton’s wildfire risk by visiting Pemberton FireSmart Facebook page.

Landslides and Debris Flow

Landslides include a range of downhill earth movements, including slope failure, rock falls and debris flows. Landslides can be extremely destructive and are caused by a number of pre-existing and contributing factors that cause the slope to fail, including heavy rainfall or rapid snowmelt, erosion, poor construction practices, freezing and thawing, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Debris flows are fast-moving liquefied landslides that carry tons of soil and other debris like boulders. Debris flows are often triggered during periods of intensive rainfall that follow prolonged rainfall which

Extreme Weather

Winter storms can occur in Pemberton and cause power outages, blocked roads, icy conditions and extremely cold temperatures.

Extreme summer heat is becoming more common and due to climate change, by 2050 cities across Canada are predicted to experience over four-times the number of very hot days as compared to 2012. Extreme heat events can last several days at a time with temperatures reaching the high 30s. As the Pemberton Valley sits closer to sea level than Whistler, temperatures are usually 5 to 10 degrees warmer than Whistler.

Earthquake

An earthquake occurs when there is a sudden release of energy within the earth’s crust. Earthquakes strike suddenly, violently and without warning at any time. Pemberton rests within the active tectonic process off the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Health Emergencies

Human diseases include a large array of parasitic, bacterial, and viral agents that can cause illness and death. A great variety of events can lead to disease outbreaks and epidemics among Squamish residents and visitors. The most notable disasters associated with human diseases include respiratory viruses, such as high-mortality influenza.

A pandemic is a worldwide outbreak of a specific disease which affects a large proportion of the population and spreads rapidly. In a large-scale and sudden human disease outbreak, such as pandemic influenza, health care services may be unable to deal with the large number of expected patients.

Pemberton falls within a Vancouver Coastal Health, Health Services Delivery Area. Vancouver Coastal Health is responsible for developing, maintaining, and implementing the pandemic response plan for the Sea to Sky Corridor.

Get Prepared

During an emergency, you and your family may be asked to stay at home or evacuate. Depending on the nature of the emergency you may:

  • Need to look after your own needs and those of your family, pets and livestock for at least 72 hours after an emergency occurs
  • Need to evacuate your home or business with all people and animals at little or no notice
  • Have to “Shelter in Place” (stay where you are) with little or no access to external sources of food, water and other supplies

Make a Plan

What would you do if there was a disaster or other emergency while you were at work and your children were at school? How would you communicate to make sure everyone was safe and get your family back together.

Watch this Making a Family Emergency Plan video to learn how to create your household emergency plan.

Having a household emergency plan and making sure everyone in your family is familiar with it – can help save valuable time during an emergency and make the situation less stressful for everyone.

Quick tips for creating your plan and what your emergency plan should include:

  • Meeting places for your family and loved ones to reunite, one close to your home and other outside of your community
  • Names and contact information for your neighbours
  • Names and contact information for out-of-town contacts
  • Family health details (medication names, Care Card numbers, doctor contact information)
  • Names of people assigned to pick up children, family members who require assistance, or pets in case you’re not able to
  • The location of your emergency kit and grab-and-go bags

Get a Kit

During an emergency, you and your family need to be prepared to be self-sufficient at home for an extended period of time. You may also need to evacuate on short notice. In order to be ready for either of these scenarios, you should prepare a 72-Hour Household Emergency Kit, as well as Grab-and-Go Bags for each of your household members, in advance.

72-Hour Household Emergency Kit

In the event of an emergency or disaster, roads may be closed, and emergency services stretched beyond capacity. It is important that you and your family are able to go at least 72 hours (and ideally a week) at home without outside assistance.

Watch this Building an Emergency Kit video on how to prepare your own 72-hour Household Emergency Kit.

Grab-and-Go Bag

A grab-and-go bag is a small emergency kit that is easy to take with you, in case you need to leave right away. It is a good idea to have grab-and-go bags for your home, workplace and vehicle.

Watch this Pack Your Grab-and-Go Bag video on how to prepare your own Grab-and-Go Bag.

Building an emergency kit or grab-and-go bag doesn’t need to take a lot of time or money. Follow the these basic supply lists.

Pet Plan

Just like people, pets must be evacuated when an evacuation order issued, and cannot be left behind. If it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets! Make sure to include items for your pet in both your emergency kit and grab-and-go bag. Refer to the Prepare for Your Pets guide to learn more about preparing your pets for emergencies.

During an Emergency

Emergency Officials will assess the incident and determine what emergency measures are required to protect people and property. If evacuations are required, the Mayor will declare a Local State of Emergency for all or part of the community.

Emergency Operations Centre

The Emergency Operations Centre is designed to act as coordination and communication centres for any large emergency or disaster events that impact the Village of Pemberton.

During emergencies, the EOC will:

  • Coordinate resource requests from the site(s), establish priorities and resolve any conflicting demands for support
  • Manage non-site activities
  • Coordinate and liaise with federal, provincial and other local governments as well as other agencies involved in the response
  • Prepare and disseminate emergency public information to inform, alert and warn the public
  • Prepare official media releases and schedule press conferences
  • Analyze and evaluate data and maintain maps, display boards and other data required for emergency operations
  • Disseminate damage information and other essential data
  • Plan for the continuance of government

The level of Emergency Operations Centre staffing varies with each specific emergency. Municipal Staff regularly test the activation, set-up and operation of the EOC to ensure its constant readiness and effectiveness.

Evacuation

In response to emergencies, it is sometimes necessary to evacuate all or part of the community.

Evacuation Alert

Is an advance notice that is issued to prepare you to evacuate your premises and property should it be found necessary due to an approaching emergency. Residents will be given as much advance warning as possible prior to an evacuation; however you may receive limited notice due to changing conditions. If you leave before or during this alert, it is called a voluntary evacuation.

An Evacuation Alert might be in place for hours or days. This gives residents time to prepare and plan for being away from their homes or businesses. You do not need to leave during an alert, but you do need to get ready!

Evacuation Order

When an Evacuation Order is issued it is due to the belief that your life and safety is in danger and you must leave immediately. Once an Order is in place, security measures will be in place to ensure that your evacuated property is safe.

Evacuation Rescind

An Evacuation Alert or Order will be rescinded when it has been deemed safe to occupy the area. This means you can return home.

Shelter-In-Place

In the event of an emergency affecting air quality, such as a hazardous materials spill, those in the affected area may be instructed to “Shelter-In-Place” as a precaution to help keep you safe by remaining indoors.

Shelter-In-Place at home:

  • Close and lock all windows and exterior doors
  • Turn off all fans, vents and heating and air conditioning systems and close any fireplace dampers. Additional protection can be provided for window and door openings by covering with plastic and sealing with duct tape
  • If possible, stay in a small interior room with few or no windows
  • Take your emergency kit into the room

Shelter-In-Place at work:

  • Close the business and ask all staff, customers or visitors to stay inside the building
  • Close and lock all doors, windows and any other openings to the outside
  • Turn off, seal or disable all building mechanical systems such as fans, heating and air conditioning systems and systems that automatically supply fresh air
  • Avoid rooms with large windows or mechanical equipment like ventilation or blowers or pipes, as it might not be possible to seal off this equipment from the outdoors

Emergency Support Services

Emergency Support Services (ESS) provides short-term basic support to people impacted by emergencies. There are eligible requirements for ESS. For example, if you’re self-sufficient and have appropriate means to support yourself for the first 72 hours of an emergency, you would not be eligible for ESS.

Homeowner or tenant insurance may provide greater support than the ESS program. Check with your insurer to determine what may be available to you.

What Supports are Provided

Support provided to those eligible are determined on a case-by-case basis. Services may be available for an extended period depending on the emergency and the circumstance of an evacuation.

Primary Services include temporary lodging, food, clothing and incidentals (such as toiletries).

Specialized Services include emotional support, health services (such as first aid), pet care and transportation.

Reception Centre

A Reception Centre is the location designated as a safe gathering place for people displaced from their home as a result of an emergency. This is where individuals will register and receive ESS.

The location of the Reception Centre will always be communicated through the Evacuation Order and included in communications via Pemberton Alert, under Emergency Updates on the webpage and on the Village’s Facebook page.

Evacuee Resources

After evacuation, those impacted can refer to the BC Government's Evacuee Resources webpage for helpful programs and services.

Emergency Updates

In the event of an emergency, information about emergency response and what they community can do to stay safe will be posted on this page.

Information updates will also be posted on the Village’s Facebook page and emergency notifications will be sent out via Pemberton Alert.

 

Emergency Planning

It is important to understand the hazards and risks to mitigate against, prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies and disasters. The Village’s Emergency Program is responsible for developing and implementing plans and programs to build community resilience and protect against emergencies and disasters.

Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan

This is the guiding document that provides a framework and an overall strategy for the Village to conduct its Emergency Program. The Plan follows an “all-hazards approach” which means that the same management strategies and emergency response structures are used to respond to any major emergency or disaster within the Village, regardless of cause. An “all hazards” concept increases efficiency by recognizing and integrating common emergency management elements across all hazard types, and then supplements these common elements with hazard specific guides to fill gaps as required.

There are also a number of technical reference documents that contain information and procedures for managing events that will come into effect to support the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan depending on the nature of the emergency or disaster.

Pemberton Valley Emergency Management Committee

This committee acts as a coordinated jurisdictional approach to emergency planning between Lil’wat Nation, Pemberton Valley Dyking District, Squamish-Lillooet Regional District and the Village. The committee focuses on improving communication and intergovernmental coordination, establishing a common ground and shared sense of direction, strengthening collaborative advocacy and capacity for collaboration and active and ongoing information sharing.

The committee includes one Elected Official, one Senior Staff and one emergency management staff member from each organization.

Emergency Planning and Operations Committee

The role of this committee is to facilitate emergency preparedness, response and recovery measures. Members of the Committee include one member of Council, the CAO, Emergency Program Coordinator, Fire Chief or designate, Manager of Operations & Projects or designate, Manager of Development Services or designate and the Manager of Finance or designate.

Volunteer to Help

Canadian Red Cross – Emergency Support Services

In Pemberton, Emergency Support Services (ESS) is provided by Canadian Red Cross volunteers. Being an ESS volunteer with the Red Cross involves:

  • responding to smaller emergency events to provide short-term basic needs assistance to displaced residents in the community
  • in larger emergencies, providing short-term basic needs assistance to displaced residents in an evacuee Reception Centre and other support facilities such as Group Lodging and Recovery Centres.

To learn more and to get involved with the Pemberton Emergency Support Services team, please contact:
 
Emergency Program Coordinator
Sarah Toews | 604.902.1196
Email Sarah

Emergency Program Coordinator

Sarah Toews | 604.902.1196

Email Sarah