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Better to be prepared: Central Okanagan residents urged to make emergency plan

‘You should be prepared to look after your family’s needs for at least 72 hours’
The Central Okanagan Emergency Program is urging residents to review or create emergency plans as creeks and rivers in the area rise during the freshet season. (Jen Zielinski Capital News)

The best time to prepare is when there isn’t an emergency.

That advice comes from Sandra Follack, Central Okanagan Emergency Program coordinator, for Emergency Preparedness Week (May 7-13).

“You should be prepared to look after your family’s needs for at least 72 hours,” says Follack.

She adds this week is a good opportunity to create or review emergency plans and ensure grab-and-go kits are refreshed, restocked and replenished.

Emergency kits should be checked for any outdated food, prescriptions, water and other items and replaced as needed.

“You never know when they’ll be needed,” says Follack. “If your family is prepared in advance, you can focus on what you need to do during an evacuation of your area. First responders may only have minutes to notify residents to gather family and belongings and leave the area as directed.”

READ MORE: Cawston mudslide leaves 12 still cut off after 5 days

Residents are also encouraged to know the risks of potential emergencies in their area like flooding, wildfires and land movement, and what they can do in advance to protect their properties.

Those living near previously flooded creeks, streams and lakes, that might again see high water levels, should have the tools and equipment they need to protect their properties.

Homeowners can help protect their homes from wildfire hazards by using proven FireSmart program principles including:

  • Move firewood 10 to 30 metres away from the home;
  • Clean roof and gutters of flammable leaves and needles;
  • Remove branches/ladder fuels up to three metres from the ground;
  • Trim or prune trees or vegetation that overhang structures.

On Wednesday, May 10, ALERTREADY, Canada’s emergency alert system, will conduct an emergency notification test. During this test, people will hear or see the message on radio, TV and compatible wireless devices.

Central Okanagan residents are encouraged to visit the Central Okanagan Emergency Program website at to subscribe to receive email notifications in the event of an emergency in their area.

READ MORE: Waters recede in parts of flood-ravaged B.C. as half of province remains under threat


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Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Recently joined Kelowna Capital News and WestK News as a multimedia journalist in January 2022. With almost 30 years of experience in news reporting and radio broadcasting...
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