An emergency management committee from Predator Ridge has asked the City of Vernon for its blessing to install an emergency siren at the resort to alert residents and visitors to the imminent danger of wildfires. (Photo submitted)

An emergency management committee from Predator Ridge has asked the City of Vernon for its blessing to install an emergency siren at the resort to alert residents and visitors to the imminent danger of wildfires. (Photo submitted)

Emergency siren sought at Vernon’s Predator Ridge

Loud signal would alert residents and guests to evacuation orders

Predator Ridge residents may soon have a loud warning of impending danger.

The Predator Ridge Community Emergency Management Committee presented to Vernon council Monday, June 13, its desire to purchase and install a high-powered, directional, rotating emergency siren at Predator Ridge. The siren would be used to alert residents, as well as area golfers, hikers and bikers, that evacuation is necessary due to the imminent danger from a wildfire.

Residents, Wesbild Developments (owners of Predator Ridge) and Sparkling Hill Resort would purchase the siren with no cost to the city.

“Our ask today is to have the city’s emergency management program act as the coordinating agency, and to have the authority to activate and control the siren in the event an evacuation order is issued,” said committee coordinator Gordon Wilson, joined in council chambers by fellow members Robert Scott and Jane Toppozini.

Predator residents live between two large lakes – Okanagan and Kalamalka – but also live in a wildland-urban interface area where wildfire threats have become a major concern.

Wilson said the community is growing rapidly and in its busiest seasons, summer and fall, there could be as many as 3,400 residents or guests per day at the resort. And with an abundance of recreation opportunities such as golfing, biking and hiking, people could be at the resort’s furthest point of the property if or when a wildfire was to break out.

“We want to avoid a catastrophe,” he said.

The proposed siren would be one that rotates on a 360-degree radius. It would be mounted on a 45-foot pole at the Predator Ridge Fire Hall. The radius the siren would cover reaches the full extent of the property to behind the Sparkling Hill Resort.

“If there was a sudden evacuation requirement, the siren would alert those that are the farthest away golfing, biking or hiking, alert them to imminent danger and then return to their home or to the resort and prepare to evacuate,” said Wilson, adding the siren is an “effective, low-tech, very, very loud signal of imminent danger requiring evacuation.”

The siren would only be activated if an evacuation order was enacted. It would not be used for a structure fire at the resort, nor if an evacuation alert was issued.

The only cost to the city would be the occasional testing of the siren.

“It’s an additional layer of protection that reaches the farthest points of the property,” said Wilson of the siren.

Council directed staff to bring back a report on the request for its next meeting on June 27.

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@VernonNews
roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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