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West Kelowna homeless shelter evacuation sends vulnerable clients to Kelowna, Vernon

Turning Points Collaborative Society helping out clients in Okanagan amid wildfires
Turning Points Collaborative Society has enacted its emergency response plan in regards to the McDougall Creek wildfire in West Kelowna. Additional shelter beds in non-evacuated communities such as Vernon (pictured) will be prioritized for vulnerable evacuee clients from evacuated areas. (Morning Star - file photo)

West Kelowna’s vulnerable citizens are being looked after in the wake of the McDougall Creek wildfire.

Turning Points Collaborative Society said Friday, Aug. 18, that West Kelowna’s shelter was evacuated Thursday.

“Our shelter clients went to our Richter shelter in Kelowna,” said Turning Points in an email following the evcuation of the Bartley Court shelter. “Our rapid re-housing program from the Super 8 (by Wyndham, West Kelowna) has been re-housed at a couple of our motels in Vernon.”

Turning Points quickly put into action its emergency response plan.

“Additional shelter beds in non-evacuated communities will be prioritized for vulnerable evacuee clients from evacuated areas,” said Turning Point. “This is a quickly evolving situation, and our first priority is the safety and security of our clients and staff.”

The Upper Room Mission reminds anyone in need that services are offered daily.

Dinner is offered from 4-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays while the centre is open from 2-6 p.m. with limited guest services from 2-4.

The Mission is open 9-4 Monday to Friday, serving breakfast from 9:30-10:30 a.m., guest services from 11-2 with clothing, laundry and showers and dinner from 2:30-3:30.

Vernon encourages emergency preparedness

The City of Vernon is asking its residents to take some time to consider if they’re prepared for an emergency as the wildfire situation continues to evolve in the Okanagan.

Stay informed

Keep up to date on the latest wildfire information and evacuation notices in the Okanagan and across B.C. by visiting accurate and reliable information sources:

• BC Wildfire Service:;

• Regional District of Central Okanagan: (Lake Country Wildfire, Clifton/McKinley Fire, McDougall Creek Wildfire).

Receive Vernon updates

Receive emergency updates from the City of Vernon by signing up to receive notifications through Alertable: or stay up-to-date with email updates through the City of Vernon website,

You can also follow the city on its social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@CityofVernon).

To help you and your loved ones feel better prepared to effectively face an emergency and stay safe, PreparedBC provides the following recommendations:

Have an emergency plan

An emergency plan is a is a playbook for how you and your household will respond to disasters, including wildfires. Knowing what to do will reduce anxiety and help keep you focused and safe. Start by downloading a fill-in-the-blanks emergency plan. When you’re done, communicate your plan with everyone in your household, and make copies for grab-and-go bags at home, at work and in your vehicle.

Refresh your grab and go bags

In the event of a wildfire, you may need to leave home quickly. Take time now to build grab-and-go bags for each member of your household so you’re not caught off guard. Do you have pets? Do you have young children? Are you a foster parent? Are you caring for seniors or people with disabilities? If yes, prepare and customize bags specific to their needs.

Prepare your home

We all play a critical role in mitigating wildfire risks around our homes and properties by undertaking FireSmart activities. Simple measures can make a significant difference to the survivability of structures by decreasing the intensity of a wildfire and slowing its spread.

Additional safety reminders:

• Ensure your vehicle has fuel. The tank should always be at least half-full;

• If you know someone who may not have access to the Internet or regular news updates, share emergency preparedness information and resources with them;

• With limited hotel and camping accommodations available during the high summer season, consider making a plan to stay with family or friends in a safe location, in the event of an evacuation.

Know the evacuation stages

• Evacuation Alert: This means be ready to leave on short notice;

• Evacuation Order: You are at risk. Leave the area immediately;

• Evacuation Rescind: All is currently safe and you can return home.

READ MORE: Vernon businesses pitch in wildfire support to evacuees

READ MORE: Shuswap’s Lee Creek and Scotch Creek under evacuation order

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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