The City of Vernon would like to offer its deep gratitude and thanks to everyone who responded to a call for volunteers to join the Emergency Support Services (ESS) program and help serve at Vernon’s ESS Reception Centre.
The reception centre has been operating since August 1st to welcome and assist residents from neighbouring communities who have been evacuated due to the White Rock Lake wildfire. As the wildfire situation has evolved and evacuation orders have become necessary throughout the North Okanagan region, the Vernon ESS Reception Centre has received and registered more than 1,600 evacuees.
“This really only tells a piece of the story,” said Mayor Victor Cumming. “Although more than 1,600 people have registered at the Vernon location, our dedicated team of volunteers have processed hundreds of more requests for assistance as service referrals have had to be renewed or other reception centres have requested help. This has been a difficult time for many people and our volunteers have made a big and positive difference in many lives.”
Nearly 200 new volunteers have been trained since the City requested more help for the reception centre and several more applications remain in the queue. City staff continue to review and process applications and will be contacting each applicant by email as soon as possible.
Given the current needs of the ESS Reception Centre, some of the applications already received will be placed on hold until a need arises to train more volunteers. Additionally, the City is temporarily suspending intake of new applications.
“Time and time again, when we see a need in our community, Vernon residents respond to the call for help with enthusiasm, compassion and care. This time is no different,” said Mayor Cumming. “This is community in action.”
To learn more about the City’s response to the White Rock Lake wildfire, Vernon’s ESS Reception Centre, emergency preparedness, and how to receive updates from the City, please visit vernon.ca/whiterocklake.