The Vernon North Okanagan RCMP is asking the public to make sure leaving a note for emergency personnel is part of their evacuation plan.
Given the expansive geographical area and the large number of rural properties in the North Okanagan, ensuring all residents in evacuation areas are notified and safely evacuated can be particularly challenging.
The City of Armstrong and the RCMP would like to remind the public that being prepared in advance of these orders makes all the difference when time is of the essence and would like to highlight one critical piece of information that is helping first responders on the ground.
“Once an evacuation order is issued, the first priority will always be life safety,” said Warren Smith, emergency management coordinator for the City of Armstrong. “We are asking our residents who are on evacuation alert, as part of your emergency preparedness plan, to prepare a note you can leave at your property should you be evacuated. The note should be posted in a highly visible location and should include your family name, when you left, where you are, and a contact number you can be reached at.”
This information has been particularly useful to police, emergency responders, and volunteers who have been going door-to-door assisting with evacuation orders.
“If you are ordered to evacuate, or have decided to evacuate in advance of an order, if possible, we are asking you to leave a note for us,” said Const. Chris Terleski, media relations officer for the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP. “This information is key and with it, we can confidently move on to the next home knowing you and your loved ones are safe, which will always be our first priority.”
The RCMP, with help from Vernon Search and Rescue, delivered evacuation orders to Okanagan Indian Band and Township of Spallumcheen property owners Sunday and Monday, Aug. 15 and 16, in relation to the White Rock Lake wildfire.