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Wildfire Update from CEO - August 28th

August 28, 2018

Emergency Operations Centres (EOCs)

NH Emergency Operations Centres continue planning for and monitoring wildfire-related impacts to NH facilities and services. 
Out of an abundance of caution, Stuart Lake Hospital in Fort St. James is the only facility from which we diverted in-patients to St John’s Hospital in Vanderhoof. The emergency room and other out-patient services remain operational.

Response & Preparedness 

Areas of focus for response and preparedness efforts include: 
Support for reception centres receiving evacuees who need either primary care, nursing or mental health/substance use services 
o Health care information for evacuees is available on the NH website
o Northern Health has a partnership with the Prince George Reception Centre (CN Centre) where we are on-call to support any emergent medical needs or concerns they may have 
Pre-planning for any potential evacuation of Northern Health facilities to ensure readiness in the event there is a need to move those in our care away from fire impacted areas
Planning for services to support communities affected by alerts and evacuations. This includes the reopening of Stuart Lake Hospital.
Readying receiving communities for the reception of people requiring facility based care (i.e. hospital, long term care or assisted living)

Facilities

All sites are fully equipped with replacement charcoal filters and air scrubbers to maintain fresh-air turnovers in facilities. Staff are encouraged to review Workplace Health & Safety’s fact sheet on Heat and Air Quality, for information on physical health and wellness during wildfire season and smoky skies bulletins.

There remains no wildfire-related need for staff to be redeployed or volunteer on a large scale. Staff in communities under evacuation alert or order should review the FAQ for NH employees. Should this change, Northern Health Staffing Services will contact staff about assignments/additional duties required.

Site Information (Focus on areas affected)

Fort St. James/Vanderhoof 

In-patients and long-term care clients from Stuart Lake Hospital, and individuals from the community requiring Community Services support have been transferred to facilities and services in Vanderhoof (St. John Hospital, Stuart Nechako Manor and Community Services) 
If a person is seeking to locate a loved-one who is a Northern Health patient or client that was transferred to Vanderhoof from Fort St. James, please call 1-250-567-2013 to locate them in Vanderhoof.
Stuart Lake Hospital remains open; emergency department, lab and medical imaging services will continue, unless the status of alerts or orders significantly changes
Planning for potential repatriation of transferred patients is initiating, and dependent on the status of alerts in the area  

Burns Lake/Fraser Lake

Advance planning is in place for potential evacuation, including assessments of transportation and supply needs 

Quesnel

Stable & Monitoring wildfire situation

Prince George

NH is supporting the reception of evacuees from other communities with nursing and mental health supports at the CN Centre reception centre
Plans are in place to manage evacuated facility based patients and clients should that become necessary. 

NW & Terrace/Kitimat

Stable & Monitoring wildfire situation

Updates and information

Wildfire season is expected to continue for several weeks in British Columbia. Staff and the public can visit the Northern Health website for Wildfire information including air quality, food and drinking water safety. The First Nations Health Authority has also established a wildfire information portal on the FNHA website

Thank you for your continued dedication in providing care and services during these challenging circumstances. If you have questions or concerns, please talk to your manager or supervisor.