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EDITORIAL: Year-round emergency preparation is essential

Disasters are possible at any time of the year
During the winter months, there are times when disaster conditions can occur. (Black Press file photo)

Anyone who had an emergency kit ready during the wildfire season this summer should still keep it close at hand.

The wildfire season was the worst ever recorded in British Columbia, with fires and heavy smoke affecting urban areas in the province’s Southern Interior.

While wildfires and smoke are no longer affecting the province, it is still important to be prepared for other potential emergencies.

In the South Okanagan, rock slides have shut down portions of Highway 97 earlier this year and continue to be worked on, and more recently a potential rock slide in Penticton resulted in the evacuation of 25 homes in that city.

Unpredictable weather conditions can also result in emergency conditions.

Two years ago, in November, 2021, an atmospheric river event resulted in massive flooding damages in Merritt, Princeton, Abbotsford and other locations. This happened several months after the heat dome event in late June of that year had record-breaking temperatures in many parts of the province.

The year after the atmospheric river, the start of winter came with sudden cold temperatures and snow at the beginning of November, before trees had lost their leaves.

And during this past year, weather conditions during the summer and fall resulted in the worst wildfire season ever recorded in this province.

Drought issues are ongoing in British Columbia and could cause or intensify other problems in the province.

Extreme conditions have been happening frequently, and at times the results have been devastating.

Disasters are possible at any time of the year, including now, in the days and weeks leading up to the festive season.

Because of this level of uncertainty, it is important to be prepared in case of a disaster or an evacuation order or alert.

Emergencies can happen at any time of the year. As a result, year-round preparations are essential.

–Black Press