UPDATE: 3:35 p.m.
It's been a challenging few days for thousands of residents who have been placed under evacuation orders across the Okanagan due to the wildfires.
At Royal LePage Place in West Kelowna, some evacuees say they have waited days to receive support.
"It's pretty tough. Obviously, they are having to help out a lot of people... it is our third time coming back. Basically, we walk away every time because they can't help us yet," said West Kelowna resident Justin Harding.
Harding and his wife have been driving back and forth from Summerland every day to complete their evacuation registration process.
"We have four kids too. It's a lot," added Hope Harding.
On Monday morning, Central Okanagan Emergency Operations stated that they are implementing a new method to process applications from wildfire evacuees seeking support.
A new queue system has been established to simplify the registration process at Royal LePage Place.
Once you have registered for ESS online, if you need more services, you must visit a reception centre.
This queue service is currently available only at Royal LePage Place in West Kelowna.
The registration desk will provide you with a colored card displaying your queue number. Each colour accommodates up to 100 numbers.
You can check your position in the queue by visiting the "ESS Queue" link on the front page of cordemergency.ca.
Jason Bedell from ESS mentioned that volunteers are working around the clock to assist evacuees.
"I have volunteers who are under evacuation orders. I have volunteers who don't know if they still have their homes, yet they are still showing up every single day to support their community," he said.
Noreen has been camped out in the parking lot of the evacuation centre along with her two dogs, two cats, and two children.
"It's really good. The support has been phenomenal here. There's really nothing to complain about. The food isn't bad either."
Ramandeep Singh is a part of Khalsa Aid, an international NGO with the aim of providing humanitarian aid in disaster areas and civil conflict zones around the world.
Singh and other members from the group have been volunteering at the centre.
"Technically, my house is on high alert as well, but the wind is blowing in the other direction so... I thought there's nothing else to do, let's help some people and feel good," he said."
ORIGINAL: 12:35 p.m.
Central Okanagan Emergency Operations is rolling out a new way to process applications from wildfire evacuees seeking support.
The regional district said ESS reception centres have been experiencing “significant volumes” of people. More than 10,000 homes have been placed on evacuation order in the past three days.
On Monday, it was announced that a new queue system has been created to make the registration process easier at Royal Lepage Place.
Once you have registered for ESS online, if you need more services you must attend a reception centre. This queue service is currently only open at Royal LePage Place in West Kelowna.
The registration desk will give you a coloured card with your queue number. Each colour holds up to 100 numbers.
On the webpage, you will see the colour the registration desk is currently serving and the upcoming colour block.
"This will help to give you an idea when you need to return to the registration area to sit down with an ESS volunteer who can help you," said the regional district.
Evacuees are encouraged to connect with family and friends for temporary accommodation. Those who have a place to stay should still register online and indicate if additional supports outside of lodging are needed.
After registering online, evacuees who need lodging or others supports can attend the reception centre nearest them to speak with an ESS volunteer. The three reception centres are:
- Royal LePage Place at 2760 Cameron Road in West Kelowna
- Kal Tire Place at 3445 43 Avenue in Vernon
- Princess Margaret Secondary School, 120 Green Ave West, in Penticton
All reception centres are open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
Prospera Place in downtown Kelowna is NOT a reception centre. It is a group lodging centre, a location for reprieve from the smoke and is prioritized for evacuees.
The reception centres are experiencing significant volumes of people registering and volunteers are working to process applications for support as quickly as possible, said the regional district.
“ESS teams will get to everyone’s applications and patience is appreciated. Currently, the priority is for those needing lodging and accommodation. People who have other supports with family and friends are not required to visit a reception centre,” said Central Okanagan Emergency Operations.