Emergency Planning – Be Prepared, Not Scared

Last updated July 19 2021

The District of Sooke has an excellent team of professional and volunteer emergency responders that look after the day-to-day emergencies common to municipalities. However, Sooke is potentially vulnerable to events that may exceed the resource capacity of the Sooke emergency responders to manage on their own. These include such events as interface forest fires, lengthy power interruptions due to storm activity, water supply interruptions, hazardous spills, earthquakes and especially the loss of a major arterial route due to bridge or road failure.

When a disaster strikes, it takes time to mobilize Community, Regional, Provincial and Federal services that may be needed to respond to the Community.

Emergency Services, through the Emergency Operations Centre, are activated when a disaster strikes to assess and assist the public; however, it is critical that individual households, residential building managers, Senior Centre’s and others prepare their own premises to handle their needs for a minimum of 7 days.

A number of publications are available, both online and in print form, to assist the public in preparedness – as well as how to cope after an event. These valuable preparedness resources can be downloaded or picked up at the Sooke Fire Department, learn more:

  • Prepare Yourself: The Guide for Emergency Preparedness in the Capital Region
  • Emergency Management BC (EMBC): Emergency Preparedness, Response & Recovery in BC
  • PreparedBC: British Columbia’s one-stop shop for disaster readiness information – prepare and download helpful guides
  • Get FireSmart (your home and property) and gather valuable preparedness resources for individuals, families, pets and businesses.

Emergency Contacts:

  • For an Emergency with respect to fire or life safety, please call 911
  • Sooke Fire Department: 250.642.5422
  • Sooke RCMP Detachment – non-emergency: 250.642.5241
  • Air or Marine Emergency: 1.800.567.5111
  • Provincial Emergency Program: 1.800.885.6655 (Earthquake, Flood, Tsunami, Dangerous Goods Spilled, Coastal Watch – suspected illegal activities at sea).
  • Poison Control Centre: 250.595.9211
  • Victoria General Hospital: 250.727.4212, #1 Hospital Way, Victoria, BC, V8Z 6R5

Have questions?

Sooke Emergency Program Volunteers are available with emergency preparedness information, and to answer questions and provide resources:

  • at the Thursday Night Market at the Sooke Region Museum: July 15, July 22, August 5, August 19  & September 2 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • at the Saturday Country Market at John Phillips Memorial Park: July 10, July 24, August 7, August 21 & September 4 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Public Alert Notification System (PANS)

During an emergency or significant event, it is important to seek local information. Threats and subsequent actions can differ according to a geographic location – even within the Greater Victoria region. The District of Sooke has partnered with the CRD on their Public Alert Notification System (PANS). Sooke residents are encouraged to register to receive Sooke-specific emergency-related public alert notifications by phone, text, or email. SIGN UP HERE >>

Please note: As required by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) any alerts sent via Alert Ready (the Wireless Public Alerting System provided by the Provincial and Federal Government) will take precedence over any notifications you receive via the Public Alert Notification System. Read more >>

Stay informed with Alertable notifications

Use Alertable to stay aware, plan ahead and save time. Check for closures, restrictions and hazards in advance. Know before you go. Keep yourself and others informed and up to date with Alertable.

Download the FREE Alertable app for iOS and Android smartphones. Install the FREE Alertable skill and action for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant home devices. Follow Alertable on Facebook and Twitter. Connect with Alertable directly on Facebook Messenger. Get desktop and browser notifications from Alertable.ca. Install the FREE Alertable add-on for Slack and Microsoft Teams (coming soon). Choose any combination that’s right for you.

Notifications are fast, reliable and easy to see and hear. Personalize notifications by type and severity. Choose notifications for more than one location such as home, office, cottage, family and friends and more. Please SHARE!

LEARN MORE & FIND FAQS HERE >>


Build a household emergency kit and grab-and-go bag

Following a disaster, you may need to stay at home with your emergency kit or leave immediately with your grab-and-go bags. Gather and organize your emergency supplies now so you’re ready when disaster strikes.

Building your emergency kit or grab-and-go bag doesn’t need to be expensive or take a lot of time. Follow the basic supply lists below. Just remember to consider the unique needs of your household, such as including items for pets (PDF) or seniors.

Emergency Kit Supplies

Put your supplies in one or two containers, such as plastic bins or duffel bags. Store them in an area of your home that’s easy to get to, such as a hall closet, spare room or garage.

  • Non-perishable food: three-day to one-week supply, with a manual can opener
  • Water: four litres per person, per day for drinking and sanitation
  • Phone charger, battery bank or inverter
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • First-aid kit and medications
  • Personal toiletries and items, such as an extra pair of glasses or contact lenses
  • Copy of your emergency plan, copies of important documents, such as insurance papers
  • Cash in small bills
  • Garbage bags and moist towelettes for personal sanitation
  • Seasonal clothing, sturdy footwear and emergency blanket
  • Dust masks if you live in an area that’s prone to earthquakes
  • Whistle
  • Help/OK Sign (PDF): Display the appropriate side outward in your window during a disaster.

Build a Grab-and-go Bag

You may need to leave immediately in the event of an emergency. Be ready to go by having a smaller version of your emergency kit in an easy-to-access place in your home. In addition to having one at home, create grab-and-go bags for your workplace and vehicles that contain:

  • Food (ready to eat) and water
  • Phone charger and battery bank
  • Small battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Small first-aid kit and personal medications
  • Personal toiletries and items, such as an extra pair of glasses or contact lenses
  • Copy of your emergency plan, copies of important documents, such as insurance papers
  • Cash in small bills
  • Local map with your family meeting place identified
  • Seasonal clothing and an emergency blanket
  • Pen and notepad
  • Whistle


District of Sooke Emergency Plan

Emergencies can be defined as situations caused by the forces of nature, an accident, or an intentional act that constitutes a danger of major proportions to life or property. Whenever an emergency occurs, which affects the lives and property of citizens,  the initial and prime responsibility for providing immediate assistance rests with the local municipal government. The District of Sooke emergency plan is designed to ensure the coordination of municipal,  private and volunteer services during an emergency, to bring the situation under control as quickly as possible.

In order to protect residents, businesses and visitors, the District of Sooke require a coordinated emergency response by a number of agencies. The District of Sooke has prepared an emergency response and business continuity plan, which contains distinct arrangements and procedures that are different from the normal day-to-day operations, to ensure that every official, municipal department and partner agency will be prepared to carry out assigned responsibilities in an emergency.

All municipal officials of the District of Sooke, whether elected or appointed, must be fully conversant with the contents of this emergency plan and be prepared at all times to carry out the duties and responsibilities allotted to them. In addition, it is important that residents, businesses and interested visitors be aware of its provisions.


FireSmart

FireSmarting your property will dramatically decrease the risk of wildfire burning down your home. The best part is, it’s surprisingly easy to do. Check out the list of top 10 ways to FireSmart your home:

  1. Move firewood 10–30 metres from your home
  2. Clean your roof and gutters of leaves & pine needles
  3. Have a wildfire evacuation plan with your household
  4. Keep grass cut to less than 10 cm
  5. Trim and prune any trees or vegetation that overhang your roof
  6. Take inventory of what kind of trees grow on your property. (Some trees are more flammable, such as Pine. Other trees are more resistant to fires, such as birch and aspen.)
  7. Make sure everyone in your family knows where the gas, electric, and water mains shut-off are!
  8. Assess your roof and chimney. Is your roof clean? Do you have a spark arrestor? Having a clean, protected roof can significantly improve the chances of the entire structure surviving.
  9. Relocate propane tanks 10-30 meters from your home
  10. Conduct a full FireSmart assessment of your home and property. Download the FireSmart Homeowner’s Manual to assess and FireSmart your home.

Take the FREE online FireSmart 101 Course presented by FireSmart BC.

Gutter Mount Sprinkler System

The WASP Patented Gutter Mount Sprinkler System gets water to the home’s roof and surrounding areas, where it’s needed most during wildfire emergencies. Homeowners can now purchase the gutter mount sprinkler system, which had previously only been available to the firefighting community. The District of Sooke Fire Department makes kits available at a discounted rate to local residents – purchase, while quantities last, through the Sooke Fire Hall at 2225 Otter Point Road or the Sooke Municipal Hall at 2205 Otter Point Road. Or, purchase anytime through the WASP website.


Hazards The May Require Strategic Evacuation

Following a review of the Sooke Community Hazard Risk and Vulnerability Analysis (HRVA), the District determined that the hazards most likely to require a strategic evacuation include the following, in alphabetical order:

  • Dam Breach – The CRD-controlled structures at the Sooke Reservoir face the risk of breach under some extreme circumstances. The potential impact zone is well defined along the Sooke River drainage, as described in the CRD emergency plan.
  • Flooding – Sooke River water flows are controlled by CRD at the reservoir. Heavy rainfall occasionally leads to isolated minor flooding in the Sooke River basin, from tide level north to about De Mamiel Creek. The CRD is responsible for issuing warnings about Sooke River flood conditions.
  • Hazardous Material Release – Risk areas for the release of hazardous materials include Seaparc Leisure Complex, where ammonia is stored in tanks for the ice arena. Highway 14 is used for the transportation of dangerous goods to western communities. Toxic smoke from large structural fires present similar risks.
  • Police Actions – Some security and public safety responses by RCMP may require a large-area evacuation over a long period. Some bomb threats or active shooter incidents fall into this category.
  • Storm Surge – Coastal areas are subject to storm surge conditions that, combined with high tides, could lead to localized shoreline flooding, and impacts to docks and marinas.
  • Tsunami – Properties within 4 metres elevation above the normal highest tide along the marine shoreline are subject to tsunami
  • This risk area includes several residences, as well as docks and marinas.
  • Wildfire – Several neighbourhoods are classed as interface or intermix zones, subject to wildfire threats, including Erinan, north of Sunriver Estate, Milnes Landing and north along Sooke River Rd., Saseenos, and the eastern border near Gillespie Rd, Connie Rd., and Glinz Lake Rd.

Note: evacuation guidelines and preparation provide the flexibility needed to adapt to these and other situations.


Top 10 Steps to Prepare Your Business for Evacuation

Presented by BC Economic Development Association

If you are on evacuation alert or think you will be put on evacuation alert, there are some important steps you will want to consider. If you have an evacuation plan, review the plan and start the implementation process. If you do not have an evacuation plan, here are 10 things to consider:

  1. Protect your information – back up electronic files using a USB stick, emailing them to yourself, backing up to an online ‘cloud’ and grabbing your laptop, external hard drive, or computer tower if needed.
  2. Pack insurance and registration information for all commercial vehicles in your evacuation kit.
  3. Preparing for an Insurance Claim – take pictures and/or a video of your business pointing out key equipment. Don’t forget to take a copy of your insurance documents with you.
  4. Remove any uncertainty as to what staff should do in an emergency. Assign tasks to help staff respond as quickly as possible. Make sure you have their contact information and out of area contacts.
  5. Turn off utilities – electrical and water, and remove any fire hazards that may be near the building. If you are evacuated, leave your gas service on. If fire or emergency officials request FortisBC to do so, we will turn off the utility service as a precautionary measure, or if there is an immediate threat to FortisBC infrastructure.
  6. Empty cash from your cash register and seal in an envelope. Sign the envelope, the cash amount and the date across the seam. If you go to use any of this cash in your evacuation efforts, be sure to track how much of it you spend and if it is a business-related expense.
  7. Make sure you have a list of links to emergency information. A list is provided at the end of this document.
  8. Create a list of emergency phone numbers and key contacts, be sure you have access to this list if you are evacuated.
  9. If there is an environmental threat 50 km or further from your place of business, you may still be eligible to register for business interruption insurance.
  10. Contact suppliers about a potential delivery disruption (if applicable) and/or contact customers about a potential disruption in services (if applicable).

Learn more: