File photo Last year during the flooding season a tree blocked Barcello Creek diverting rushing water through an orchard spilling onto Upper Bench and down Daly Drive in early May.

Don’t wait, start preparing for flooding now

The Keremeos fire chief is urging people who live close to creeks, river to be prepared

The Keremeos fire chief is urging residents that live near rivers and creeks to be prepared to evacuate if water levels rise as predicted.

“Anybody living near the river or creek should be prepared, heavy snow pack and depending on the weather… An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” Jordy Bosscha, chief of the Keremeos Volunteer Fire Department said.

Rain is expected fall in the Similkameen and South Okanagan in the latter part of the week and for several days. With a higher than normal snow pack that could mean creeks and waterways raise quickly.

Although the department isn’t responsible for flooding situations, Bosscha said last week if there were firefighters available to help sandbag or for other reasons they would do so in the case of an emergency. He also said that it was dependent on how many bodies were needed and if that would affect the departments ability to attend other issues, fires or car accidents, as that is their first priority.

“We’ll always help if we can but we have to make sure we can manage it without putting other areas at risk,” Bosscha told the Review.

The Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen already has an Emergency Operation Centre setup in the board office on Martin Street.

Sandbagging has been taking place in Willowbrook, near Oliver, since water levels in a dam above the small community broached risky levels. Firefighters from Keremeos have helped out with sandbagging in that community.

Everyone at risk of flooding is urged to prepare an emergency kit that can be kept in your and home and car and to ensure important documents are kept in watertight containers.

Those with pets and livestock should have an alternate place to keep their animals in case of flooding.

Those looking to do last minute work on culverts and near waterways must contact the ministery through FrontCounterBC.

If a culvert does get plugged and water starts to spill on the roadway contact the Ministry of Transportation or in an emergency call Argo Road Maintenance 250-493-6969.

Those that live near fast flowing water should start sandbagging. Contact the RDOS to arrange sand drop off and to obtain sandbags.

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