Penticton residents should prepare for emergencies such as wildfires, landslides and flooding, especially if you live on the outskirts of the city or near waterways. There are many steps we can take to plan ahead, starting with having a household plan, basic emergency kit and considering all the people and animals on your property. Be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours.
Prepare for an Emergency
It will take you about 20 minutes to make your family emergency plan online. Before starting, you will need to think about:
- Safe exits from your home and neighbourhood (plan for two ways out of every room; do not use elevators)
- Have a meeting place to reunite with your family or roommates
- A designated person to pick up children should you be unavailable
- Contact people close-by and out-of-town
- Health and insurance information
- Places for your pet to stay
- Potential risks in your area
- Location of your fire extinguisher, water valve, electrical panel, gas valve and floor drain
Find out more at getprepared.gc.ca
Your emergency kit should be in a bag that's easy to carry, with items sufficient for the entire household for at least 72 hours. Make sure everyone in the home knows where it is kept. The kit should include the following:
- food that won’t spoil such as canned goods
- energy bars
- dried foods
- manual can opener
- First Aid kit
- a whistle (to attract attention, if required)
- extra keys for your house and vehicle (fully fuelled)
- a change of clothing
- toilet paper
- cash in small bills
- change (payphone if needed)
- contact information
Find out more at getprepared.gc.ca
Have copies made of birth/marriage certificates, passports, licenses, wills, land deeds and insurance. Keep a copy of them outside of the home. Put them in a safety deposit box or give them to a close friend or family member.
Keep your information current and updated. Have emergency contact information on hand. Plan for each family member to call or e-mail an out of town contact person in case of emergency, they may not be affected by the same emergency. When disaster strikes, your family may not be together. Plan how to meet or contact one another.
If children are in daycare or school, find out how they will communicate with families during an emergency. Choose a designate to pick up children if you not able to pick them up yourself. Update contact information including parents, caregivers and designates.
While disasters and emergencies affect everyone, their impact on people with disabilities/special needs is often compounded by factors such as reliance on electrical power, elevators, accessible transportation and accessible communication – all of which can be compromised in emergency situations. Some of the tips for emergency preparedness for people with disabilities/special needs are listed below. You can find more information on Canada’s Emergency Guide.
Make sure all your emergency kit items are organized in one place, easy to find and to carry.
- Tag all of your special needs’ equipment including instructions on how to use and/or move each assistive device during an emergency.
- If there are food / drug allergies, wear a MedicAlert® bracelet.
- List all food/drug allergies and current medications (for each medication, specify the medical condition being treated, the generic name, dosage, frequency, and the name and contact information of the prescribing physician).
- If you rely on any life sustaining equipment or if you require regular attendant care, ask your network to check on you immediately if an emergency occurs and have an emergency backup plan in the event of a power outage.
- During an emergency, if your support network is unable to help, ask others for help and inform them of your special needs and how they can assist you.
- Carry a personal alarm that emits a loud noise to draw attention.
- Be aware that experiencing an emergency can be overwhelming and stress can worsen some medical conditions.
- Identify a trusted support network of at least three people to assist during an emergency. Give them keys and add their contact information to a shared emergency plan. The support network should also be advised of any health conditions or medications and shown how to operate specialized medical or mobility equipment, such as lifts, wheelchairs or scooters.
- During an emergency, you and your animal companion(s) may be on your own for several days, and your pets will be relying on you to help them through it. Preparing for your pets is just as important as preparing for the human members of your family.
- Identify “pet friendly” accommodation/resources in advance in case evacuated. Not all public shelters or hotels may take pets. Have food and water in your emergency kit. If you have large animals (horses/cows) consider removing animals from the area during an evacuation alert if issued.
Learn more about how to prepare your pets from PreparedBC.
Home insurance can help you pay for big expenses you couldn’t afford after a disaster such as replacing your home and all your possessions after a fire. It should also include additional living expenses in the event you are temporarily unable to live in your home due to an insured loss. If you have coverage, be sure to have copies of your policies as part of your emergency kit.
Preparation is key. By taking a few steps to ensure your home is FireSmart, risks can be avoided. Visit our Wildfire Prevention page for important tips that could save your home.
Here are some key points:
- If you are replacing your roof, choose a Class A or fire resistant product. Your roof is the most vulnerable part of your house in a wildfire because of its large size and its susceptibility to flying embers.
- Dead pine needles are fuel. Keep them off your roof, out of your gutters and away from the foundation of your house.
- Prune your shrubs, removing all dead branches. De-limb trees up to 2 to 3 metres from the ground. Take the green waste to a local disposal site.
- If branches are hanging over your roof, trim them back. Then clear your roof of leaf or needle litter.
- Keep your lawn mowed and watered, as fire moves quickly through dry grass and weeds.
- Store firewood at least 10 metres from your house, especially during fire season.
Flooding is a common, naturally occurring event in B.C. If you face a threatening flood situation, park vehicles away from streams and waterways, move electrical appliances to upper floors and make sure to anchor fuel supplies. Listen to local officials if you are asked to evacuate. Here are a few things you can do to the exterior of your home:
- Enhance landscaping so water drains away from the foundation.
- Ensure water from downspouts drains away from your residence.
- Clean your gutters regularly.
- Maintain your perimeter drains regularly.
- Keep nearby storm drains clear of debris.
Source: Find out more at Prepared BC – Flooding
Get the Latest Updates
In the case of an active emergency, try the following resources for updates. Also visit the City of Penticton's Emergency Updates page as a central resource for information.
The BC Wildfire Service website provides comprehensive information on:
- Preparing for a potential evacuation
- What to do if evacuated
- Current wildfire information and interactive map
- Wildfire prevention and preparedness
- BC Wildfire Service information bulletins
- FireSmart your property and reduce the risk from wildfire
During an Emergency
- Follow your emergency plan.
- Take your emergency kit (grab-and-go bag).
- Make sure you are safe before helping others.
- Stay informed of the situation. Listen to the radio or television for information from authorities. You may be advised to stay where you are. Follow their instructions.
- Stay put until all is safe or until you are ordered to evacuate.
If you receive evacuation orders, take the following steps.
- Authorities (RCMP) will ask you to leave your home only if they have reason to believe you are in danger.
- If you are ordered to evacuate, take your emergency kit, medications, documents and cell phone/charger if you have one.
- Once you are at a safe place, let family/friends know you are safe and the location of where you are.
- Shut off water and electricity if officials tell you to.
- Leave natural gas service “on” unless officials tell you to turn it off. If you turn off the gas, the gas company may have to reconnect it. In a major emergency, this could take several weeks for a professional to respond to reconnect. You could be without gas for heating and cooking once the order has been lifted.
- Take pets with you. Evacuate livestock during the Evacuation Alert stage.
- Lock your home.
People who are evacuated from their homes in an emergency may be directed to an Emergency Reception Centre. What should you expect there?
- Information about the emergency
- Assistance with basic needs
- Recovery planning from the disaster or evacuation
The City of Penticton Emergency Reception Centre is located at 325 Power Street. Phone: 250-490-2345. For more information, visit the City’s Emergency Updates page.