Message from the Chief Medical Officer of Health

“Throughout the re-entry planning for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, my focus has remained on ensuring residents are protected from potential harm.

At each re-entry planning phase, the municipality has been diligent in identifying, decreasing, and managing public health risks.

Following the RMWB’s submission of Phase 1 Re-entry Plan for Abasand and Beacon Hill on August 24, 2016; Phase 2A Re-entry Plan for Waterways on October 20, 2016; and Phase 2B Re-entry to Abasand and Beacon Hill on November 1, 2016, and based on the current state of these areas, I am repealing all recommendations for re-entry and re-occupation.

Effective November 21, 2016, I am repealing all recommendations for re-entry and re-occupation. There will be no further restrictions on re-entry and re-occupation in relations to the areas identified in the above noted plans.

I would like to thank the municipality for working collaboratively to protect the health of residents throughout all re-entry phases.

While the focus on rebuilding after a disaster is often on buildings and other infrastructure, there is also a need to focus on individual and family health and well-being. Please keep your health top of mind and recognize that each person’s journey after a traumatic event is different. I continue to wish all residents of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo strength and good health as you continue to re-build your community together."

- Dr. Karen Grimsrud, Chief Medical Officer of Health

Read the complete Public Health Recommendations for Re-entry Planning in the Urban and Rural Areas of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (November 21, 2016) (0.1 MB)

Consumer protection

Issues with utility billing – Support from the Utility Consumers Advocate
Residents who need assistance resolving issues with utility providers or have questions about utility bills should contact the Utilities Consumer Advocate (UCA) of Alberta at 310-4822 (In Alberta), 780-644-5130 (Outside Alberta), or by email. The UCA has a mandate to educate, advocate, and mediate for Alberta’s residential, farm, and small business electricity and natural gas consumers. For more information, visit the Utilities Consumer Advocate (UCA) website.

Service Alberta – Consumer Protection website

Environmental monitoring

Soil analysis from burned areas in Abasand, Beacon Hill and Waterways is complete. No soil samples taken to date – in either burned or unburned areas – have been found to exceed human health guidelines.

Air and water samples are taken regularly, and results are acceptable.

A full breakdown of all monitoring programs (air, water, soil and ash), including maps of sample locations, is online.

Information about managing indoor air quality, including suggestions related to cleaning, filtration, and indoor air sampling is online.

Living Safely in Abasand and Beacon Hill Neighbourhoods during Fire Demolition and Remediation (0.3 MB)

AHS Environmental Public Health’s role in Fort McMurray (0.2 MB)

Rebuilding

The regional municipality has released a demolition permit application package for residents looking to begin the demolition process.

A second round of tackifier was applied following sifting. This second application of tackifier is brown in colour. It is an environmentally safe, non-toxic compound that is commonly used in landfills.

The province has amended regulations under the New Home Buyer Protection Act and the Safety Codes Act to support and protect Wood Buffalo residents as they rebuild their homes.

If you require new fridge and/or freezer, Red Cross may be able to help. Visit the local Red Cross office in Fort McMurray: Hardin Street Building – 9816 Hardin Street. Please call 1-888-553-5505 to book an appointment before visiting the Red Cross office on Hardin Street.

Before you use water in your home, visit Alberta Health Services for procedures on how to flush your lines.

Childcare and Education

School authorities are posting information on their websites for affected families. More information can be found on the education and childcare page.

Government is working with child-care providers to help get their programs operational as quickly as possible once operators re-enter the community. Families who need child care should contact their providers to see when their programs will be available. The regional municipality has also compiled a list of child-care organizations and their opening dates.

Government is extending the deferral of repayment and interest-free period for student loan borrowers affected by the fire to March 1, 2017. Student Aid Alberta will contact eligible student loan borrowers this July to make sure they are aware that the deferral is in place. The repayment and interest-free period extension is for Alberta student loans only.

Health Care Support

Healthcare services have largely returned to normal. Please see the Alberta Health Services Wildfire Information webpage for the most up-to-date information.

Health Link is available 24/7 by dialing 811 for quick and easy advice from a registered nurse. They can also provide updates on what services are available in Fort McMurray.

Your home may be impacted by smoke, soot and ash, chemicals, structural damage and water damage. Returning to Your Home  (0.2 MB) is a collection of health and safety considerations during initial work to restore your home. This document is intended to be broad-serving and not all of the information may apply to your situation.

Remember, you are not alone. It’s normal to feel anxious and uncertain about what the future may bring after a disaster. People react in different ways to disasters and traumatic events. It’s okay to ask for help.

Help for when you come home

People affected by the Alberta Fires who are in need of additional assistance are encouraged to visit their closest Red Cross office. For people who have returned back to the Wood Buffalo region, a Red Cross office has been set up in Fort McMurray and is located at 10019B Franklin Avenue. You can also contact the Red Cross by calling: 1-888-553-5505.

Appointments can be booked in advance by calling 1-888-553-5505.

If you have just returned to the community and still need to check in for re-entry, please visit the Future Forward Place prior to booking an appointment.

Renters and landlords

Information on renting a home

If you have just returned to the community and still need to check in for re-entry, please visit the Future Forward Place prior to booking an appointment.

Condominiums

If a condo unit or building was damaged in the fire, roles and responsibilities for repairing the unit depends on the unit type and condo bylaws.

Accommodations

Information Centre

When you return home, there is help available at the following information centres:

Future Forward Building
9717 Franklin Avenue, Fort McMurray 
8:30 am to 4:30 pm
infocentre@rmwb.ca