The RDOS continues to support community recovery efforts for residents and property owners affected by the November 2021 Atmospheric River event. RDOS Recovery Manager Trevor Kier is working with the Town of Princeton, Emergency Management BC (EMBC), provincial ministries, and non-governmental agencies to advance recovery efforts. Please send enquiries via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Flood response and the environment: Province of B.C.
Rapid Damage Assessment (RDA) Categories
The Regional District of the Okanagan-Similkameen Emergency Operations Centre (RDOS EOC) continues to complete rapid damage assessments (RDA) in flood-affected areas in the region.
Properties affected by flooding that our crews can access will be labelled with “red”, “yellow” and “green” placards.
Green Placard – Good to re-enter as long as the Evacuation Order has been rescinded.
Yellow Placard – Restricted access to varying degrees once Evacuation Order has been rescinded.
Checklist for full time re-entry:
- Sewer and potable water must be operational.
- Pump out all free standing water when safe to do so (follow best practice for limiting mould growth ie. temperatures)
- Electrical and gas systems must be deemed safe to use by a certified contractor. Have your certified contractor submit any supporting documentation to the RDOS EOC Operations.
- To find a certified contractor contact Technical Safety BC (1-866-566-7233)
- HVAC systems damaged by flood water must be repaired and commissioned by a certified contractor.
- Remove all non-structural flood damaged material. Do not disturb asbestos containing material.
- Follow best practice for restoring the building to a livable condition (contact your insurance company if covered). Heat and high ventilation rates are crucial for salvaging the structural integrity and preventing mould growth. Restoration companies are experts in this and we recommend hiring a competent contractor to perform this function.
- Contact the local building authority to determine any next steps and building permit requirements.
Town of Princeton Building Inspection phone: 250-295-3135
RDOS Building Inspection Phone: 250-490-4205
Red Placard – Do not enter unless authorised by the Authority Having Jurisdiction
Disposal of Sandbags
As part of flood recovery, please follow the directions of local governments for the proper disposal of emergency sandbags.
Sand and sandbags that have been in contact with floodwaters may be exposed to contaminants, and British Columbians are encouraged to take precautions to ensure their safety and the protection of the environment.
- The sandbags used in the flood response should be removed and appropriately disposed of after it is safe to do so.
- It is important to wear gloves and boots to protect yourself from scrapes and potential contaminants.
- Due to the potential of contamination, residents are advised to not use the sand in playgrounds, sandboxes or other areas where there might be direct human contact.
- Sandbag contents should not be disposed of in lakes, rivers, wetlands, floodplains, parks or other environmentally sensitive or protected areas.
- Sandbags used in the flood response should be disposed of according to the direction of local emergency authorities.
Individuals are reminded they should always wash their hands with soap and warm water after contact with floodwaters or handling items that have come into contact with floodwaters.
If an open wound comes into contact with floodwater, soil, or contaminants, immediately:
- Clean it thoroughly with soap and warm water.
- Apply an antibiotic ointment to reduce the risk of infection.
- Apply a bandage.
- Check the wound and change the bandage regularly.
- See a doctor.
Be careful when beginning a clean-up. Be aware of physical, microbiological, and chemical hazards: http://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthfiles/hfile20.stm
Disaster Financial Assistance (DFA)
After a disaster, the provincial government may declare the event eligible for Disaster Financial Assistance (DFA). Once declared, the DFA prrogram may provide applicants with financial assistance for essential uninsurable losses.
Disaster Financial Assistance is only available when approved by the province after a disaster, and is not available in certain circumstances including but not limited to:
If flood insurance was reasonably and readily available to a property owner.
Dwellings such as vacation homes and property other than a principal dwelling.
- Province of British Columbia: Financial assistance in a disaster
Flood Preparation and Response
What is the responsibility of property owners in flood preparation and response?
In British Columbia, property owners are responsible for taking the necessary steps on their property to protect their home and property from flooding, while government emergency programs focus on broader flood response measures. The RDOS will provide sand and sandbags for property owners as needed, in addition to information about sandbag placement. During a flooding emergency, Emergency Management BC (EMBC) may assist with funding for response works such as tiger dams, sandbags and other emergency resources.
Flooding on private property will typically occur as a result of high stream flow, pooling or slow rising water from a body of water. The following should be considered for protecting your property from flooding:
Assess - Determine potential sources of flooding that may impact your property
Act early - Preparing flood protection takes time and requires manual labour
Focus your efforts – Work on the most effective methods to protect your property for the type of flood risk; to protect the most important areas such as your home or areas where the greatest damage may occur
Be Safe – Avoid working alone around flowing water, use proper safety equipment and techniques to avoid injury
Get Help – Sandbagging is labour intensive and physically demanding work
Communicate - Work with your neighbours; coordinating work with adjacent properties may provide more effective flood defenses
Invest – Properties with routine flooding may wish to invest in improved flood defences that can be quickly deployed and are less labour intensive to put in place than sandbags
Streams and flowing water - Create sandbag walls or other barrier type flood defences alongside the stream; contain the stream or re-direct the flow away from your home and other critical areas of your property; be aware that backing up of flow may cause water to rise or back flow into unprotected areas
Pooling or slow rising water from a body of water - Create sandbag walls with heavy duty poly or plastic sheeting incorporated to completely surround a structure; have pumps on hand to remove seepage of water from within the protected area; be aware that power may be out or disconnected – Have a generator on hand if needed
Property owners are responsible for preparing for emergencies by developing family emergency plans, building emergency kits, and obtaining insurance for unforeseen emergencies such as flooding.
Roles and Responsibilities
What is the role of the RDOS in flood preparation and response?
The RDOS actively works with the province through Emergency Management BC (EMBC) to prepare for and respond to emergencies that occur within the region. During flooding, the RDOS coordinates response efforts including provision of sand and sandbags, tiger dams, and other flood response assets for impacted areas. The RDOS works to keep residents informed about Emergency Support Services (ESS) available to evacuees and information about best practices such sand sandbag placement or re-entering homes after flooding has occurred.
- The RDOS does not have jurisdiction over roads, roadside ditches, streams or water bodies outside of an emergency situation. The RDOS works with provincial ministries during emergencies to address response measures in these areas.
- The RDOS has no jurisdiction to commence any preparedness, emergency response, or undertake mitigation ‘works’ on private property until a State of Local Emergency (SOLE) is declared. A declaration is only made during an event of a magnitude that poses an imminent risk to life, or widespread damage to public infrastructure or homes.
Working Around Water
If you plan to work in or around water, you must take care to minimize the potential risk to aquatic ecosystems and limit water pollution. Before starting any work in or around water, permits will likely be required. Please refer to the section below and visit these links for more detailed information:
Get Help - Call, Email or Visit FrontCounter BC
Toll Free: 1-877-855-3222 (Monday to Friday, 8:30am - 4:30pm)
Beaver Dam Removal
Residents who experience impacts from beaver activity tend to be aware of the ongoing challenges of removing beaver dams and/or the animal itself.
For clarification, the RDOS has little to no ability to address beaver dams because beavers are typically within provincial waterways and are subject to provincial regulations through the Ministry of Forest, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD). This includes managing or trapping nuisance beavers and/or effectively removing a beaver dam from a creek, stream or other waterbody. As a property owner, you are responsible for protecting your property from flooding due to beaver dams. If the beaver activity is upstream or adjacent to your property, you may want to speak with your neighbour to see if the beaver activity can be mutually addressed. Please ensure you are in compliance with all applicable provincial regulations, and ensure you take the proper safety precautions when working around water.
FLNRORD may provide contact information for a licensed trapper in your area. Costs associated with nuisance beaver trapping are the responsibility of the property owner.
For more information about beaver dam removal, please visit: http://www.pskf.ca/publications/beavers.htm
Penticton Office: 250-490-8200
Park Rill Flood Response Feasibility Study
Ecora Engineering & Resource Group Ltd. (Ecora) and Dobson Engineering Ltd. were retained by the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) to complete a flood response feasibility study to develop options for a long-term solution to flooding in the Park Rill Creek watershed. The purpose of this report is to review available information for Park Rill Creek and to develop alternatives to upgrade the watercourse to a design standard capable of handling a 1 in 200-year flood event. The alternatives proposed will be assessed in this report to determine cost and reliability of each alternative, and a Class D cost estimate will be prepared for each recommended option.
Ecora and Dobson have also prepared a report summarizing a flood response feasibility study for Twin Lakes, which should be reviewed in conjunction to this report.
Click Here to View the Study
FireSmart Education and Preparedness
The first step to becoming FireSmart is educating yourself, your family and your community on what it means to have a FireSmart BC. Read up on the disciplines, find out what you need to know to increase the wildfire resiliency of your property and neighbourhood.
Taking advantage of FireSmart in order to be prepared for a wildfire emergency is the responsibility of everyone from a homeowner, to community leader, to members of fire agencies.
FireSmart BC: Education and Preparedness Information