Emergency Management


During an emergency event like the flooding that the Okanagan region is experiencing, there are a number of questions that people have about response and recovery. Are we missing any? Let us know. 

What are the stages of evacuation?

Evacuation Alert: People should be prepared to evacuate the area. If not already prepared, use this undetermined period of time to begin an orderly preparation for possible evacuation orders. People may wish to self-evacuate; this is only an alert.

Evacuation Order: People have been ordered to evacuate the area.  This is an order means that the affected population is at risk.  An Emergency Reception & Information Centre will be set up; you will be given the location and are asked to register in.

Evacuation Rescind: The population that was ordered out of the area previously may now return as the danger has passed. People are requested to remain ready and alert in case the situation changes.  If this occurs, RCMP will alert everyone in the impacted area.

Tactical Evacuation: The emergency does not allow for any warnings to prepare to evacuate. This evacuation is immediate due to threat to life safety.

Declaration of Local State of Emergency: Declared by a local government when an emergency or disaster within its jurisdiction requires access to the extraordinary emergency powers of the Emergency Program Act.

Do I have to leave my home if there is an evacuation order?

There is currently no authority under the Emergency Program Act or in other legislation to compel competent adults to leave their private property after an evacuation order is made—emergency responders warn people of the imminent risks of remaining in an area subject to evacuation, but ultimately rely on people to voluntarily evacuate.

What should I do to prepare for an evacuation?


Upon notification of an ALERT, you should be prepared for the evacuation order by:

  • Locating all family members or co-workers and designating a meeting place outside the evacuation area, should an evacuation be called while separated.
  • Gathering essential items such as medications, eyeglasses, valuable papers (i.e. insurance), immediate care needs for dependents and, if you choose, keepsakes, photographs, etc. Have these items readily available for quick departure.
  • Preparing to move any disabled persons and/or children.
  • Moving pets and livestock to a safe area.
  • Arranging to transport your household members or co-workers in the event of an evacuation order.
  • Arranging accommodation for your family if possible. In the event of an evacuation, Reception Centres will be opened if required.
Will the City turn off my services in the event of an evacuation order?

No. However, the City will inform service providers such as Fortis BC and BC Hydro that an evacuation order has been issued. Those providers may decide to cut off services for health and safety reasons.

Who is responsible for protecting private property?

Homeowners are responsible for ensuring that their homes are protected during an emergency event. The City is responsible for protecting municipal assets such as roads, pipes and facilities.

Is the City organizing volunteers to help with sandbagging?

No. There are some private organizations that are organizing volunteers, but the City of Vernon does not have any direct information about these efforts.

Is the City running out of sand and sandbags?

No. The City replenishes the supplies twice a day at all sandbagging locations.

Who should I call if my house or property is flooded?

Call your home insurance provider immediately. Be sure to take photos of any damage.

What should I do with debris on my property?

Until the flood waters recede, debris on the lakeshore acts as a buffer against wave action and protect property and the integrity of the lakeshore. However, any hazardous materials should be removed by a qualified salvage company. Salvage operations can also help with the removal of materials once the flood has passed.

Is the Lakers Clubhouse still accessible and available for use?

Yes, at this time there are sandbagging and other flood prevention measures in place and the building is dry.

What is the City’s response plan? What is the City’s recovery plan?

The City of Vernon is closely monitoring all flood threats within the City and communicating with the Province of B.C. to ensure that response plans are consistent with best practices and recommendations from Emergency Management B.C. The City is dedicated to the protection of City-owned roads, pipes and facilities, and providing residents with materials necessary to protect their homes.

Once the threat of flooding has passed, the City will begin the recovery phase. This will include repairs to beaches, parks, lake accesses, roads, pipes or facilities damaged by the flood. Additionally, residents will be advised on the disposal of sandbags. Sandbags can be contaminated and precautions should be used to protect individuals and the environment. The sandbags used in the flood response should be removed and adequately disposed of after it is safe to do so.

  • It is important to wear gloves and boots to protect yourself from scrapes and potential contaminants.
  • Due to the potential of contamination, residents are advised to not use the sand in playgrounds, sandboxes or other areas where there might be direct human contact.
  • Sand should not be disposed of in a wetland, waterway, flood plain or other environmentally sensitive or protected area.

Individuals are reminded they should always wash their hands with soap and warm water after contact with floodwaters or handling items that have come into contact with floodwaters.

Is it safe to swim in Okanagan Lake with the potential sewer/septic leak issues?

A recent report from RDNO confirmed that it is safe to swim in Kalamalka Lake and Okanagan Lake. However, the public is encouraged not to swim in areas where septic systems are located, areas which may have been compromised, or if there is any other visible surface contamination.  The City would like to remind parents to keep children out of dirty shallow water to prevent any health risks posed by standing water. Pets should be prevented from drinking this water as well.

Are beaches on Okanagan Lake still open for recreational use?

Yes, at this time, Kin Beach is open. Lake accesses on Okanagan Lake have been closed due to flooding.

Has the City put up barricades around the creeks in Polson Park and at the Recreation Centre to prevent children falling into fast running water?

No. Parents are reminded to closely monitor their children near any open water, including lakes and streams that are not in flood.

Can I still boat on Vernon's lakes?

Boating is strongly discouraged on local lakes as levels are rising and swells in wind create more severe conditions. Any boats still on lifts at docks should be removed. Launches on Tronson Road and Okanagan Landing Road remain open for this purpose. 

Transport Canada advises that anyone operating a power-driven boat in B.C. must adhere to a speed limit of 10 kilometres per hour within 30 metres of shore. Slower speeds are encouraged while water levels remain high.

My home has been affected by the flood. Is there any assistance available?

You may be eligible for flood assistance. Check with Red Cross and the BC Provincial Government to see if you can claim flood-related expenses. 

What should I do with sandbags once the thread of flooding has passed?

The City is currently planning recovery operations, including collection of sand and sandbags that were used as temporary flood protection.

In most instances, sand used for flood protection in Vernon can be treated as clean soil and be used as general fill, substitute aggregate in construction applications or blending into gardens. If it is at all possible that sandbags have come into contact with bacteria or chemicals and oils, personal usage is discouraged and residents should return the sand to the City.

Under no circumstances should sandbags be emptied on beaches or into any creeks, wetland, beaches or other watercourses as outlined in the Water Sustainability Act. The impact can destroy fish habitat and affect drinking water, infrastructure, flood control, navigation and recreational activities. Report violations to Natural Resource at 1 877-952-7277, (Option 2) toll-free or #7277 on a cellphone.


Every municipality and regional district in the Province of BC is required to have an Emergency Program in place with the BC Emergency Program Act.

The City of Vernon’s Emergency Program is managed by Vernon Fire – Rescue Services.  The Emergency Program is designed to provide support to first responders during major incidents and may include the activation of an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), support for evacuations and major incident management.

If the event of an emergency you should be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours. Knowing what to do is an important part of being prepared. Those who are well prepared can minimize some of the challenges incurred during the initial response to a major incident.

Emergencies can strike at any time. So, be prepared by having a plan, assembling a 72 hour survival kit and by staying informed.

Visit The Government of Canada’s emergency preparedness website at: https://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/kts/bsc-kt-en.aspx Here you will find valuable information so that you can be prepared if a disaster should occur.

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