Gallagher’s Canyon community prepares for fire season

Gallagher's plans for fire

A resident of Kelowna’s Gallagher’s Canyon says its a matter of when, not if a wildfire affects the community.

Regan Borisenko is the emergency preparedness and FireSmart coordinator for the community organization. He says more than 100 people have signed up for each of two presentations, tonight and tomorrow, April 22 and 23, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Gallagher’s Canyon Village Centre. The sessions focus on how to FireSmart their homes, as well as how to prepare for an emergency and how to get out quickly in the event of a wildfire.

“I think that there’s a real desire to understand how to better protect themselves knowing insurance rates are going to go up if we have a fire here. Deductibles are going to through the roof with anything to do with wildfires claims. And also, how they can prepare themselves for getting out and what needs to be done when it’s time to leave,” explains Borisenko.

Before coming to Kelowna, he was a crime-prevention coordinator with the City of Vernon, and notes his old neighbourhood of Lakeview Estates held similar educational sessions to prepare for fire season.

Deputy Chief Sandra Follack will be presenting the FireSmart program to the Gallagher’s Canyon Residents. RDCO emergency support services supervisor Jason Bedell and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue will also be on hand to talk about emergency evacuations.

As fire season gets underway earlier and earlier, Borisenko says it’s important to keep people up to date.

“What happens is if you aren’t training and making them more aware of FireSmart all the time, people have the tendency not to do it. And it’s not just FireSmart. It’s emergency preparedness and it’s evacuations. It’s all three,” he adds.

You can find out more about how to protect your home through FireSmartBC. A wildfire-specific preparedness guide from the Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness is available here.

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