Emergency Management Program

The Emergency Program is empowered to meet legislated responsibilities for directing and controlling local coordination of emergency response to, and recovery from, a major emergency event or disaster. The Program is designed to support citizens and emergency response agencies, including RCMP, Fire Rescue Services and BC Ambulance Services during large scale events. For regular emergency work, citizens interact directly with these agencies as their needs dictate.

When the Emergency Program is activated, it supports emergency response agencies with required resources when initially available resources have been depleted and provides relevant and timely public information to keep people safe. In Vernon, this information is shared through the Emergency Alert Notification system and the media. Sign up to receive emergency information directly to your mobile device or email.

Emergency Alert Notifications

Emergency Management Plan

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

While the emergency plan uses an all hazards approach, a hazard, risk and vulnerability analysis was conducted to inform the Emergency Program’s allocation of risk mitigation and preparedness resources. This analysis ranks the relative risk of each hazard against the potential impact to people and property in Vernon with the following hazards ranking the highest:

It is not only governments, but residents, neighbourhoods, service organizations and the business community that are involved in emergencies. Working collaboratively we are able to strengthen our collective resiliency and keep hazards from becoming disasters.

The City of Vernon’s Emergency Program is managed within the Division of Fire Rescue Services. It works with various emergency response agencies, including Vernon’s Emergency Support Services, the public, service organizations, all Divisions of the City, the Provincial and other local governments.

The City has established the Vernon Emergency Program Subcommittee (VEPS), a group of industry, service provider, neighbourhood and government agency representatives to collaborate on Vernon’s collective emergency management capacity.

BE PREPARED
What can Residents do to prepare?

Are you prepared to successfully endure the first 72 hours of a disaster?

A well thought out emergency plan communicated with everyone in your household can save time during an emergency by ensuring everyone knows what to do, where to call and how to stay safe. By developing a plan, it will ensure that you and your family know what to do in case of an emergency. Review the plan with each member of your family and involve them in the planning process. Keep a copy of this plan in an easy to find and easy to remember place. You may want to keep a copy in your car.

During a disaster, there are services we take for granted such as running water, refrigeration, telephone and cell service may be unavailable. Taking steps now to store food, water and other supplies in an emergency kit can provide households with the essentials needed during an emergency.

Residents can take steps to prepare for a rapid onset emergency which may require immediate evacuation. Depending on the event, the City may be able to provide advance notice in the form of an evacuation alert, however in other cases residents may be required to leave immediately. Prepare a grab and go bag to keep in the front closet of your home or in your car.

To learn more about preparing for an emergency visit the PreparedBC website

Are you prepared to report emergencies? Below are contact numbers and links for reporting.

Fire, Ambulance, Police                       911

Wildfire                                                  1-800-663-5555 or *5555 from cell phone

Hazardous Material Spills                   1-800-663-3456

Plugged street drain or catch basin  Report on line

Everyone has a responsibility to prevent emergencies.

Fires

Exercise fire safety around the home at all times.

Prevent wildfires - know the fire danger ratings and do not engage in restricted or careless behaviours.

Prevent spread and impact of wildland interface fires by FireSmarting your property.

Overland flooding

Pay attention to weather and snow condition

Sweep up leaves for compositing and away from storm drains

Keep an eye on drainage near your property and report problems

Hazardous Materials

What can Neighbourhoods do to prepare?

As neighbourhoods can often be the first level of support for people in large emergencies, knowing your neighbours is an important step in household emergency planning. Neighbours working collaboratively with each other can develop capacity to take action until emergency responders take over the scene.

Knowing your neighbours also enables:

  • familiarity with each other to be better work together during an emergency
  • an exchange of ideas about strengths and resources available to cope with the emergency
  • collaborative planning, including plans for pets that may be home alone when disaster strikes

To learn more about neighbourhood emergency preparedness visit 

The City uses the Neighbourhood Emergency Preparedness Program to guide and assist residents wanting to organize around emergency prevention and preparedness goals.

The Neighbourhood Emergency Preparedness Program guides participants in identifying skills and resources useful in a major disaster. The goal is to prepare neighbourhood members to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours post disaster by teaching them how to respond safely and effectively in an organized manner.

In this program, a neighbourhood can be a group of homes, an apartment or townhouse complex, a school or, a business, or any other place where individuals regularly gather. This is defined by the neighbourhood themselves.

How it works

NEPP starts with Personal Preparedness. Presentations are offered by the Emergency Program to any neighbourhood, school, or interested group in Vernon. To arrange a presentation, contact Emergency Management. 

The second step is identifying a champion in the neighbourhood willing to take on a coordinating role. Training is available for those undertaking NEPP coordination. With the support of the Emergency Program Coordinator, the Neighbourhood coordinators organize a neighbourhood team and response assignments for things like: Communications and Transportation, Disaster First Aid, and Damage Assessment.

The City can provide workbooks, or the Neighbourhood Preparedness Program Tool Kit to help in developing neighbourhood plan.

The third step involves practicing neighbourhood emergency roles and maintaining communication with the Emergency Program.

What can Service Organizations do to prepare?

Before, during and after emergencies other organizations provide services to people and assist them to cope through disasters. The Emergency Program works with service organizations to facilitate access to services for those people impacted by the disaster. During the recovery phase of a disaster, the Emergency Program may establish a Resilience Centre to facilitate centralized delivery of services to affected residents.

The City of Vernon has established a working relationship with a number of service organizations that provide emergency preparedness, emergency response and/or emergency recovery services.

If you are a non-profit organization and/or have an emergency service mandate and wish to connect with the City of Vernon’s Emergency Program contact Emergency Management.

What can the Business Community do to prepare?

Residents and visitors of Vernon rely on merchants and employers for the local economy and the supply of necessary goods and services, before, during and after emergencies.

To learn more about preparedness for your business visit these sites:

Businesses can take steps to be prepared for emergencies by:

  • Taking steps to be informed, such as signing up for Emergency Alert Notifications - Vernon Connect
  • Assessing how hazards could impact the business
  • Planning for continuing operations during an emergency
  • Preparing employees with worksite specific emergency plans and emergency supplies
  • Keeping copies of important records off-site
  • Planning options for periods of disruption to utilities services
  • Preplanning communications for employees, customers, and others
  • Reviewing insurance policies and coverages for hazard impacts and business disruption

For more about business continuity planning visit the following sites:

Businesses can assist the people of Vernon to be better prepared for emergencies by using your communication channels with your customers to talk about emergency preparedness or offering a service that makes preparedness easier for them.

Businesses offering accommodations, food and personal care items enter supplier arrangements with Vernon Emergency Support Services for use during evacuations. Contact us if you want to learn more about becoming a Vernon ESS Supplier.

Tips for Developing Your Emergency Plan

Include the following in your Emergency Plan

  • Meeting Place
  • Escape Routes
  • Out of Province Contact
  • Emergency Contact Information
  • Utility Mains
  • Choose Two Meeting Places (one just outside your home and one outside your neighbourhood should you be requested to evacuate the area)
  • Plan escape routes from each room of the house. Try to identify two different routes.
  • Only one contact should be selected and make sure all family members know who to call if they are separated from you.
  • Compile a list of emergency contact information in order to have it readily available.
Tips for Building Your Emergency Kit

After a major disaster, the usual services we take for granted, such as running water, refrigeration and telephones maybe unavailable. Experts recommend that you should be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least three days. Store your household disaster kit in an easily accessible location. Put contents in a large, watertight container (e.g. a large plastic garbage can with a lid and wheels) that can move easily.

The basic emergency kit will help you get through the first 72 hours of an emergency, suggested items are as follows:

  • Water - two litres of water per person per day
  • Food – non-perishable such as canned food, energy bars and dried foods (remember a can opener)
  • First Aid Kit along with instructions
  • Warm Clothes and Blankets - don't forget footwear and rain gear
  • Flashlight and Batteries
  • Garbage Bags and Buckets
  • Basic Tools - hammer, pliers, wrench, screwdrivers, etc.
  • Personal Care Products - don't forget the toilet paper
  • Special Items - such as medication, infant formula, glasses, etc.
  • Candles and Matches

In addition to the basic kit, we recommend you also have the following additional emergency supplies. You will then be well equipped for even the worst emergency situation.

  • Two additional litres of water per person per day
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Utensils, can opener
  • Household chlorine bleach
  • Small stove and fuel
  • Duct tape
  • Whistle
  • Radio (battery powered or wind-up)
  • Cash

Don't have the time to make a kit? You can buy an emergency kit online and in many stores in your area. The Canadian Red Cross has a kit available at www.redcross.ca and the St. John's Ambulance and The Salvation Army have jointly prepared an emergency kit that is available at www.sja.ca

Tips for Creating Your Grab and Go Bag

Many emergencies and disasters require a rapid evacuation of your home or your office. Prepare one Grab and Go-bag for each family member and make sure each has an ID tag. You may not be at home when an emergency strikes, so keep some additional supplies in your car and at work. Here are a few important items to include:

  • Food that won't spoil
  • Blanket
  • Candle and matches
  • Important documents
  • Battery operated radio
  • Personal Care Products
  • Garbage bags and buckets
  • Water
  • Change of clothing
  • First Aid Kit
  • Money
  • Medications/Prescriptions
  • Basic Tools
  • Plan for People with Special Needs
Tips for Planning for Pets

In the event of a disaster in which you must evacuate, the most important thing you can do to protect your pet(s) is to evacuate them too. Most disaster shelters cannot accept pets because of health and safety regulations. It is up to you to find a safe place for them, so prepare now for the day when you may have to leave your home.

  • Check with local hotels/motels to find out their pet policy and keep a list.
  • Ask friends or relatives, not located near your home, if they could shelter your animals.
  • Prepare a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians who could shelter animals.
  • Ask local SPCA if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets in a disaster. The SPCA may be overburden caring for animals they already have, as well as those displaced by the disaster, so make sure to plan with this in mind.