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.
Volunteer with Vernon Emergency Support Services
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?
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.
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.
The emergency does not allow for any warnings to prepare to evacuate. This evacuation is immediate due to threat to life safety.
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.
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.
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.
Call your home insurance provider immediately. Be sure to take photos of any damage.
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.