As the flooding and forest fire seasons draw near, the Provincial Government has launched a new digital registration system for Emergency Support Services (ESS).
The province said the platform will allow communities to provide evacuee self-registration, digital registration and referrals, and self-reporting.
“Following the 2017 wildfire season, our government began working to modernize the delivery of ESS,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “Moving from an archaic paper-based system to a digital platform will ensure safe and timely access to services for those who need help during some of their hardest moments. During the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual delivery of ESS is more important than ever to ensure safe physical distancing for volunteers and evacuees.”
The B.C. Government said that modernizing the system will allow quick access to supports for those impacted by natural disasters. Moving to a digital platform will also allow volunteers to focus their efforts on vulnerable people amid an evacuation. It added that about 30,000 people use the ESS every year.
“The new virtual registration system for emergency supports allows us to keep all our ESS volunteers,” said David Trawin, chief administrative officer, City of Kamloops. “The majority of these volunteers are seniors, and more than half said they would not be available if registration was paper-based and face-to-face interaction was required. It would have crippled us if we needed evacuations for floods and fire.”
The province said that it will continue to work with communities to ensure the new digital system runs smoothly.
The announcement was made alongside the launch of the BC Wildfire Service app.
More: BC Wildfire Service Launches Wildfire App (May 5, 2020)