Two hundred and 48 fire evacuees have registered so far at the City of Vernon Emergency Social Services Centre.
At this time, all of the evacuees are being billeted by friends or family in the area.
There is also two group lodging sites at the Vernon Curling Rink and the Civic Arena for evacuees needing accommodation.
Councillor Juliette Cunningham says they currently have over 400 cots, and are looking at sites for up to 400 more.
“We had a lot of experienced volunteers in our community that had been involved in these kinds of emergency responses going back to 2003, so I think we very fortunate to have that strong volunteer base.”
The ESS reception centre has been relocated to the Dogwood Gym in the Vernon Rec Centre (3310 37 Avenue).
Red Cross Services are onsite to register evacuees. Evacuees can also register with the Red Cross by calling 1.800.863.6582.
Donations for evacuees are being accepted by the Salvation Army House of Hope (3303 32 Avenue, located behind Staples).
All donations (including clothing, food and monetary) should be dropped off to this location from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Gift cards for groceries, gas or dining out are greatly appreciated.
Please specify that the donation is for fire relief when dropping off items to ensure they are directed toward evacuees.
Please note that the Salvation Army cannot accept any food items not prepared in a commercial kitchen that has Food Safe designation.
The City has received a large number of offers to volunteer from Vernon residents.
“We have had a tremendous response from people wanting to help,” says Luana Kaleikini, the Emergency Program & ESS Coordinator with the City of Vernon. “From the moment we put out a call asking for help, we’ve had people show up to begin setting up cots in group lodging or offer experienced help in providing support to people under great stress from force evacuations. I’m overwhelmed at the generosity of this community.”
Interested volunteers are asked to email ESSvolunteer@vernon.ca with a completed volunteer form available on the City’s website, or pick up a volunteer package at City Hall.
Funding for evacuee support is provided by the Province of BC.