RDNO offers tips to make sure residents prepared in case of emergency

Prepared for a wildfire?

With the wildfire season is in full swing, the Regional District of North Okanagan is sharing tips on what to do to get through it safely.

The RDNO says rural residents can prepare themselves ahead of an evacuation alert or order by:

  • Monitoring the weather and forecasted wind conditions
  • Listen to local radio, television and social media for information on possible fire activity in your area
  • Be prepared and ready to react early. If you feel like you are in danger, move out before an evacuation order is put in place. If you evacuate voluntarily, Emergency Support Services would not be available until authorities give the official instruction to evacuate. Special authorized “early evacuation for persons-in-need” can be arranged, and ESS can be provided early.

Given the unpredictable nature of the wildfires, the RDNO says the evacuation strategy is unique to fit each scenario.

It would be difficult to predict ahead of time where people may be evacuated since fire activity can change rapidly and cause officials to choose a different evacuation route and location for the reception centre.

BC Wildfire and the Ministry of Transportation or the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources will typically be the ones deciding on how to leave and where to go.

Crews, such as RCMP and search and rescue, will knock on doors to inform evacuating residents of the instructions. The RDNO supports these agencies by implementing local states of emergency, evacuation alerts and orders, and communicating to the public.

Key actions for rural residents in preparing themselves:

  • Be prepared to be self-sustainable for 72 hours minimum by preparing a pre-packed bag with essential items that you can easily load and go if instructed
  • Make arrangements: have somewhere to go to. Family, friends, somewhere away from the affected area and somewhere that can accommodate you and your dependants, including pets
  • Keep vehicles fueled throughout the summer in case of the need to evacuate
  • Include important documentation you might need: ID, insurance, passports, etc.
  • Pick a meeting point for your family: Choose a familiar meeting point for the family in advance in case you are evacuated separately. An order could be implemented when family members are at school, work or running errands. If you are evacuated, you must first follow the instructions of the emergency personnel, then refer to your family’s communication plan, which should include a plan on how to make sure everyone knows how to get a hold of one another.

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