The local flood threat has forced Hospice patients from their home in Vernon.
The North Okanagan Hospice Society is situated next to BX Creek. Because of today’s rainfall and the warmer weather causing snowmelt, Interior Health Authority and the City of Vernon advised the society to evacuate and transfer the current residents in care to the Vernon Jubilee Hospital. They will remain at the hospital until such a time that Hospice House is deemed safe for their return.
“We have nine residents currently so they will be transferred out at some point this afternoon,” said Ruth Edwards, executive director.
“There’s a number of medical requirements that need to be in place before those transfers occur.”
BX Creek came up very quickly last night and this morning, which caused the evacuation notice.
“It has since receded somewhat but they are expecting it to crest again tonight between 6 and 9,” said Edwards, adding that it is better to be making arrangements now to move residents rather than in crisis mode in the middle of the night.
“We’re not flooded yet but the potential is there.”
The concern is the creek could become blocked on the north side of 27th Avenue, near Abbeyfield House.
“That’s the pinch point there,” said Edwards.
Vernon Jubilee Hospital has set aside space for the nine residents to be moved and Edwards says they are all in relatively good shape for the transfer.
“We’re fortunate that on this particular day, people are OK. But it’s certainly going to be stressful for them as it will be for their families.”
This is the first time that Hospice has had to evacuate.
“We came very close last year,” said Edwards, adding that the same emergency preparedness training and logistics were in effect.
There will be no admissions to Hospice House until further notice.
“We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to the Emergency Preparedness professionals from Interior Health Authority and the City of Vernon for their quick response as well as to our own staff and volunteers for ensuring that all precautions have been taken. We are also grateful to the community for their kind thoughts and their offers of support,” says Edwards. “North Okanagan Hospice Society values the care and comfort of our residents and their families and will make every effort to ensure their safety.”
More information will be released as it becomes available.