West Kelowna Fire Chief Jason Brolund presents Casa Loma evacuation plan to council. (Photo/City of Kelowna video)

West Kelowna Fire Chief Jason Brolund presents Casa Loma evacuation plan to council. (Photo/City of Kelowna video)

Casa Loma safer under proposed evacuation plan: West Kelowna fire chief

‘Bottom line, evacuations will be faster and smoother from Casa Loma should they be required’

West Kelowna Fire Chief Jason Brolund is hoping that evacuations will be “faster and smoother” out of Casa Loma in the future.

Council got a detailed look at the Casa Loma evacuation plan at its June 14 meeting.

Brolund said the planning group wanted to avoid creating a massive document that would end up sitting on his desk for the next 10 years.

“When you look at this you may say ‘this plan just seems to be three maps,” said Brolund. “We wanted a plan we could have with us in the field, that residents could review in advance of wildfire season, and that’s what we’ve accomplished here.”

The plan includes resident evacuation and emergency response maps as well as three evacuation route options.

Resident evacuation maps will be available to the public and show exit routes via road or pathway as well as muster points. Emergency response maps show evacuation routes, known hazards, fire hydrant locations, and responsibilities of emergency responders.

“They’ll go on the iPads that we have on the fire trucks which means we bring them with us if we have an incident in Casa Loma, we’ll have immediate access to that information,” explained Brolund.

Evacuation options include directing evacuees to West Kelowna, Kelowna, or in both directions. Brolund told council that planning for an emergency support services centre is also underway.

“Having a pre-planned location for evacuees to go to that is not in Kelowna, but on our side of the bridge.”

A warning siren for the neighbourhood is also being considered.

“The community association will survey the residents of Casa Loma on whether this is a valuable tool,” said Brolund. “Predator Ridge (Vernon) is considering the same thing.”

Council was impressed with the plan and engagement with residents. Coun. Doug Findlater asked if property owners on Westbank First Nation (WFN) near Casa Loma will also be included.

“I know WFN has been engaged in this process, but we’ve got some streets and also new developments that are fairly extensive along Campbell Road that need to be a critical part of this.”

Chief Brolund noted he will be presenting the plan to WFN council.

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bc wildfiresCity of West KelownaEmergency PreparednessFire evacuationPlanning