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Evacuate when asked: Minister BondPosted: July 3, 2012

Letter to the Editor

The province continues to urge residents to evacuate when emergency officials request it.

Largely, British Columbians respond appropriately to emergency and public  safety officials when asked to leave their homes because of the imminent threat faced by rising flood-waters in their region. We thank them for their co-operation.

The paramount concern in dealing with any emergency is the safety of the lives of first responders and the public. It is important for residents to comply with evacuation orders, as first responders may otherwise be putting their own lives at risk to save those who ignore orders if an emergency situation worsens.

We understand how difficult it might be for families to leave their homes, but they are only asked to do that when there is an imminent potential safety risk. When an evacuation order is given, it is essential that everyone consider their safety and that of first responders and leave as requested.

A situation that seems stable can change without notice or warning; there may not be time to respond or self-evacuate. When an evacuation order is issued by the local authority, people should leave the area immediately as directed by the emergency officials.

Emergency management officials don’t want to see the forcible removal of anyone from a property – rather, we depend on individuals to heed the advice of public safety professionals, whose decisions and directions are made with the highest regard for the safety of you and your loved ones.

That said, local police or RCMP enforce evacuation orders. If children are believed to be at risk, officers will take all necessary steps to ensure their safety.

Minister Shirley Bond,

Ministry of Justice

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