With warmer spring temperatures and anticipation that rivers and creeks will rise with the snowmelt, the RDEK has set up self-fill sandbag stations around the region.
Stations are currently established at the following locations:
- Cranbrook – Public Works Yard
- Kimberley – Centennial Hall
- Fernie – Public Works Yard on Railway Avenue
- Windermere – Fire Hall Parking Lot
- Fairmont – The Old Barn at Fairmont Mountainside Golf Course
- Moyie – RDEK Pump House
“It is important for people to protect their homes and properties early,” said Terry Balan, RDEK Director of the Regional Emergency Operations Centre. “To assist in that effort, we have established numerous sandbag stations around the region to help residents in flood-prone areas proactively prepare.”
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, additional safety measures have been implemented at the sandbag stations.
Users are being asked to obey all guidelines, as separate piles have been set up at each site to ensure physical distancing. Anyone visiting the site is encouraged to use personal protective equipment such as gloves, a face mask, and eye protection and avoid sharing any equipment.
“We have posted signage at each sandbag station to help provide guidance around these new safety precautions and would ask all users to obey them while using the sandbag stations,” said Balan.
Residents must bring their own shovels and gloves, but the stations will have bags on hand for the public. Balan said the sandbags should only be half or three-quarters-full with both ends folded over so the bag can be as effective and compact as possible.
“Preparation and prevention are key. Residents who are concerned that they may be impacted by high water levels should take steps now to prepare themselves,” added Balan. “At the emergency management level, we are working cooperatively with all the municipalities and First Nations in the East Kootenay and are ready to provide support should it be required as we head into the spring freshet.”
The East Kootenay Emergency Management Program has a seasonal flooding newsletter, which has been posted online with additional tips and flood-related information.
More: Emergency Information (RDEK)
For cases of localized flooding or high-water, the property owner has the primary responsibility of protecting their property, but any residents who see wide-scale flooding should report it to the Provincial Emergency Coordination Centre (1-800-663-3454).