FREDERICTON (GNB) – The New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization (NBEMO) is reminding people in communities that are prone to flooding to prepare for the spring freshet.

“We are pleased to see that several local governments and residents are thinking about the risks and planning ahead,” said Greg MacCallum, the organization’s director. “Preparedness begins at home. Residents should ensure they have everything they need to be self-sufficient for a 72-hour period. Those who needed sandbags in the past should be buying them now. It is also a good time for residents and property owners to check in with their insurance provider to ensure they are properly covered and determine if they are eligible for overland flood insurance.”

Under the Emergency Measures Act, municipalities and local service districts are responsible for local emergency preparedness. Homeowners are encouraged to contact their municipality’s emergency measures representative or the local service district manager with concerns or questions about their community’s emergency preparedness.

“We applaud property owners, communities and municipalities that are being proactive in their preparations, including the acquisition of sandbags. These efforts show that there is more and more understanding that preparedness needs to begin at the individual and local level,” said MacCallum. “Every day we work with partners from municipalities, local service districts, first responders, government departments and organizations such as the Red Cross and the Canadian Armed Forces to ensure that they are prepared to play a front-line role when an emergency arises.”

The provincial government and NBEMO are also doing their part to be ready. If supplies such as sandbags become difficult to access, NBEMO will work with communities and residents again this year to help them access these necessities.

The government is also prepared to request federal assistance, including military assistance, should it become necessary. Requests for military assistance are typically considered by the federal government in circumstances where individual, community and provincial resources cannot meet the demand for necessary supplies or services.

The annual River Watch program began March 12 to provide New Brunswickers with information on the status of rivers, potential ice jams and other flood issues.

The River Watch program is a collaboration between the Department of Environment and Local Government and the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization. Other partners include NB Power, watershed groups, federal and provincial governments as well as agencies in the United States involved in monitoring and forecasting the water flow in the province's rivers and streams.

As of April 11, there were no waterways in the province at the flood stage, but New Brunswickers are encouraged to remain vigilant.

NBEMO helps municipalities and local service districts improve their emergency preparedness by:

  • Providing emergency management training.
  • Advising them on their obligations under the Emergency Measures Act.
  • Working with local officials and providing advice on emergency preparedness plans.
  • Compiling all emergency plans in a region to ensure there is a co-ordinated regional plan.
  • Maintaining the Provincial All-Hazards Plan.
  • Co-ordinating emergency response as required in accordance with the Emergency Measures Act.

During the River Watch season, New Brunswickers should:

  • Be prepared for possible flooding and have a plan to evacuate and be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours.
  • Move belongings to higher ground if their property is near a waterway or is in an area that is prone to flooding.
  • Avoid the banks of waterways, as they become dangerous this time of year. The water is cold and currents are swift and could carry debris.
  • Be aware that, as ice continues to deteriorate, it is unsafe to cross waterways on foot, in cars, or on snowmobiles or ATVs.
  • Call the River Watch Toll Free Number 1-888-561-4048 to receive the latest recorded water levels, forecasts and public advisories.
  • Call 511 for road closures and conditions or check online.
  • Read helpful tips, the latest forecasts and public advisories by visiting the River Watch website, or by following the Emergency Measures Organization on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Report significant ice jams or rising water. If you need advice, contact the Emergency Measures Organization at 1-800-561-4034.