This year an unprecedented number of B.C. Interior residents were forced to leave their communities due to evacuation orders – some out of their homes for days and others for weeks. Returning was often bittersweet. While it was a relief to be home, residents often had to deal with the impacts of the floods and fires, including potential health hazards. When environmental disasters or emergencies like forest fires occur, Interior Health’s Health Protection team consisting of environmental health officers, drinking water officers, and licensing officers works in collaboration with medical health officers to ensure local governments, regulated facilities (e.g., restaurants, food stores, water systems, and licensed care facilities), and the public are equipped to deal with any potential health hazards that may be present. In addition to supporting evacuees upon re-entry, Health Protection plays an active role in the midst of evacuations by visiting and inspecting Emergency Social Services Reception Centres across the region – often daily, to review housing and food safety. Health Protection staff also inspected the fire camps operated by the BC Wildfire Service to make sure those on the frontlines of the firefighting efforts were protected from potential water and food-borne diseases, as well as other health hazards.
Number of Week1
Open: November 6, 2017