Preparing for potential flooding in Central Okanagan

Emergency Preparedness Week reminds Kelowna residents to be ready for rising creek levels

When an emergency strikes, you and your family may only be given a moment’s notice to stay safe.

Emergency Preparedness Week in Canada is May 6 to 12, and with the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre already up and running on behalf of local governments to support localized incidents, it’s a reminder that there is no better reason to prepare your family to respond to any emergency than now.

“Concerted efforts across the region have been made since March to place protective measures to mitigate the risk of flooding. We learned a lot last year, and don’t want a repeat of the damage that was done to our beautiful region,” says Regional District of Central Okanagan Board Chair Gail Given. “Residents can do their part by ensuring they prepare themselves, their families and properties for potential emergencies. Together, we can all protect our communities.”

The six Central Okanagan governments, with support from provincial agencies, have been closely monitoring creek, stream and lake levels and have placed temporary and permanent measures to protect public infrastructure: brush and debris removal from creeks, placement of bladder dams and sandbags, building up berms and raising some pedestrian pathways. Also, 15 self-serve sand and sandbag locations have been made available across the region for residents who are in vulnerable areas or who have previously experienced freshet flooding. For locations visit www.cordemergency.ca/map.

The Province has lowered Okanagan Lake levels. Properties along Okanagan Lake are currently not at risk of flooding and the lake is not anticipated to be a concern at this time.

To help residents get prepared, the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations program’s website, www.cordemergency.ca, lists a number of tips and links to useful resources. Visit the Be Prepared page to help you and your family develop emergency plans and ‘Grab and Go’ kits. While on the website, subscribe to receive email notices to have the most up to date information in the event of an active emergency in the Central Okanagan delivered to your inbox.

“We want residents to know that whether it’s a potential flood or wildfire or other emergency, those who prepare their families in advance, by knowing the risks, making a plan and getting a kit, aren’t left scrambling when an evacuation order is issued,” emphasizes Chair Given.

Consider what you’ll do in any emergency. Review your family emergency plan and think about how your family will communicate with each other if you are in different locations or are separated.

Join the conversation: follow, like comment and share with us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/CORDEmergency) and connect with us on Twitter (https://twitter.com/CO_Emerg).

A selection of emergency preparedness pamphlets is also available at the Regional District of Central Okanagan office (1450 KLO Road in Kelowna) and the main Kelowna Fire Hall (2255 Enterprise Way).

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