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What to do to stay safe during flooding? Shawna Peddle from University of Waterloo gives crucial tips on how to stay safe.

More rain, flood risk in B.C. south: Are you prepared?


Hailey Montgomery
Digital Reporter

Friday, May 12, 2017, 7:23 AM - A special weather statement is in effect for parts of the Central Okanagan in British Columbia, and local authorities believe that there is a high risk for flooding in the region.

Heavy rainfall can be expected throughout B.C.'s interior, continuing throughout the weekend.

States of emergency have been declared in the cities of Kelowna, and West Kelowna, as well as in the community of Fintry Delta.

Hundreds of homes in the region are under an evacuation warning or alert, as heavy downpours continue to damage homes and washout roads.

Residents are being warned to prepare for mudslides in the region, which can not only damage property but also pollute the water supply. The Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) strongly advises residents to anticipate being cut off from resources for at least 72 hours.

Here are some tips on how to prepare yourself and your property in the event of a flood or mudslide:

What do to before a flood or mudslide: 

• Check for the signs: Murky water, falling rocks/logs, or soil could all mean an impending mudslide. 
• According to Okanagan Emergency Operations, your best defence against flooding is to place sandbags around your property.
• Check with BC One Call at 1-800-474-6886 to check for natural gas lines before trenching your property.
• Obey evacuation alerts and orders from local authorities.
• Get prepared for the event of a power outage or evacuation. Prepare a bag with a first-aid kit, food, clean drinking water, medication, and a charged battery, radio, and cellphone. If a landslide occurs, you may not be able to leave your home for 72 hours.
• Elevate any valuable items to the upper floors of your home. If possible, move your heating and electrical units to higher ground that is not prone to flooding.
• Move indoors. If you must remain outside, don’t walk or drive through rushing water. Floodwater can be contaminated with chemicals and sewage, and could be hiding dangerous debris.

What to do after a flood or mudslide:

• If you are without power, use only a flashlight to examine your home for damage. Open flames like matches could catch flame if they interact with gases, while lamps and other electric lights are a dangerous hazard in a waterlogged home.
• Utilize social media to contact friends and loved ones – cellular networks are often overwhelmed during a storm from a high volume of calls.
• Do not try to drive or walk in flooded areas.
• Take photos or video of the damage if you can, for insurance purposes.
• Continue to listen to the radio/check social media for instructions for information and updates.
• Do not re-enter buildings that are damaged. Entering flooded buildings puts you at risk for injury from debris, falling objects, and infections from contaminated floodwater.

Where to find sand and sandbags:

For Central Okanagan Residents:

Kelowna: Sandbags are available at City of Kelowna Fire Station #1 at 2255 Enterprise Way

Sand is available at:

• Cook Road Boat Launch outside the Hotel Eldorado on Cook Road
• Burne Avenue, west of Ethel Street at Mill Creek
• Rowcliffe Avenue at Richter Street
• 221 Adams Road (Industrial Park)

West Kelowna, and Westbank First Nations residents:

Sand and Sandbags are available at:

• 1341 Green Bay Road
• 2606 Casa Loma
• Pritchard Park at 1587 Pritchard Drive
• 4081 Hitchner Road
• Pebbles Beach Park at 2589 Whitworth Road

Lake Country

Sandbags are available at Swalwell Park and at Lake Country Okanagan Centre Fire Hall 

Sand is available at:

• Swalwell Park at 9950 Bottom Wood Lake Road
• Commonwealth Road by Holiday Park
• Deldor Road
• Beasley Park at 3450 Woodsdale Road

For Peachland and Trepanier residents within the Regional District of Central Okanagan, sandbags are available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Peachland Fire Rescue hall, 4401 3rd Street

Below, HGTV Host Bryan Baeumler explains what you need to know to lower the risks of flooding. 

Source: Environment Canada | FEMA | Government of Canada | Okanagan Emergency Operations 

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