North Okanagan residents are being urged to take action before flood waters threaten homes.
April, May and early June are considered flood season in B.C., particularly as snowpack at higher elevations melts and flows into creeks and lakes.
“If the weather changes and there’s a lot of melt, we could see flooding,” said Helen Sinclair, deputy co-ordinator with North Okanagan Emergency Management.
There are a number of steps that should be taken.
“If they know they live in a flood-prone area, they should check with their insurance agent to see what their coverage is,” said Sinclair.
“You may also want to put together some sand bags and build a dike now.”
Identify all hazardous materials — such as chemicals or pesticides — and ensure they are securely stored or moved to a safe location so they don’t contaminate the environment.
In case of evacuation, put together a bag that contains sufficient supplies for at least three days.
The bag should include a change of clothes, a flashlight, drinking water, snacks, medication and personal documents.
Important documents should be put inside watertight containers.
For information on flood risk precautions and hazardous materials, go to the Ministry of Environment website at www.env.gov.bc.ca/eemp/coop/haz_spring_flooding.htm
More information on flood risk can be found at www.pep.bc.ca/floods/index.html.
These links are also found at www.vernon.ca/em/index.html.
To report a serious flood situation, call the Provincial Emergency Program at 1-800-663-3456.
Sinclair says that residents must understand that flooding can occur throughout the entire North Okanagan region.
“Imagine the worst case scenario and prepare for it,” she said.