Penticton emergency services continued to help disaster victims for 5 months – Keremeos Review

4000 hours, 45 volunteers, 5 months, 25 different communities and 20 disasters. Countless families who have been struck by disaster supported by Penticton Emergency Support Services (ESS).

One of the longest deployment periods for an Emergency Support Services (ESS) team began five months ago, on July 11, 2021. With a leadership group only two months old, the Penticton ESS team has spent the past five months supporting thousands of forest fire and flood evacuees across British Columbia

The Penticton ESS team trains for the unexpected, the unknown and the unpredictable. This is a group of about 45 volunteers who are dedicated to supporting and caring for neighbors affected by forest fires, floods and disasters. 2021 has been a pivotal year with operations supporting thousands of evacuees virtually – and in person – from more than 25 different communities and 20 unique catastrophic events.

For the past five months, the Penticton ESS team has supported evacuees from Thomas Creek, Brenda Creek, McKay Creek, Nk’Mip, Garrison Lake, Nelson, Baldy Mountain, Tremont Creek, White Rock Lake, Merritt, Lytton Complex and other forest fires. , provided virtual reception centers for Vernon, Kelowna and Kamloops, as well as supported evacuees from the November 2021 floods in the Lower Mainland, Merritt region and Okanagan-Similkameen regional district. The team worked with First Nations communities, local governments, the province, charities and many more to provide compassionate and caring support.

For those evacuees who fled to Penticton and the area, a network of about 30 companies located in Penticton in partnership with ESS were able to provide food, clothing, shelter and other basic items to these evacuees to ensure they had emergency supplies for the few evacuees. days immediately after being forced to flee their homes.

To support Lytton wildfire evacuees and Lytton First Nations people who have been unable to return home for months due to safety concerns and structural damage, the Penticton ESS team jointly developed with the province and these communities an innovative process that allowed the Penticton team to support evacuees virtually across AD. This was a new process that also partially allowed other ESS teams to virtually support the city of Kamloops when it saw a significant increase in thousands of evacuees in a single day arriving from Merritt in due to flooding.

On December 15, 2021, the City of Penticton officially demobilized the Penticton ESS team, more than five months after its first deployment. During this time, the core team of 25 was able to volunteer for the entire duration, investing thousands of hours and helping thousands of evacuees (foreigners) flee their homes due to unimaginable situations there. only a few months ago.

The team is now transitioning to a well-deserved time off, and will then begin training new volunteers and retraining with more experienced volunteers, as they begin to prepare for the spring and summer periods. typically the busiest of the year for ESS teams in BC.

The Penticton EHS team reminds everyone to prepare a 72-hour emergency kit, a contingency plan, to verify that they have appropriate insurance for any disaster, and to learn more about the FireSmart program at the Penticton. City.

Looking to help or join the Penticton ESS team? The team is regularly looking for new members and supporters. Email [email protected] or call 250-490-2400.

Year in review 2021B.C. Forest fires Flood 2021BC