911 jams causes panic among residents

RDOS chair received several calls and texts from panicked residents unable to get through to 911

  • Jul. 17, 2018 10:09 p.m.

While several blazes burned across the Okanagan, Regional Districts had to put a different kind of fire out when the 911 lines jammed causing constituents to panic.

Karla Kozakevich, chair of the RDOS and director for Area E (Naramata), said she was holding a public meeting about adding an additional agri-tourism suite on Lower DeBeck Road when her phone started vibrating non-stop.

“I was doing a public hearing then I had to call it because my phone kept vibrating. I have a phone where the voice messages translate to text so I saw about the fires and the problems with 911 and told them sorry folks we need to take a break while I deal with some fires,” she said.

At least 13 fires broke out Tuesday evening in the Okanagan and Similkameen when a lightening storm rolled through the area.

“Apparently I’m hearing there were so many calls coming into 911. When you call in they ask fire, ambulance, police, they were just so overwhelmed with two fires in Naramata and a fire in Summerland there was fires in the Central Okanagan as well in Peachland and the Joe Rich area. They were all calling in at once. I texted the chief and asked the person to keep calling 911 and let me know when they get through,” she said.

Related: Update: Lightening sparks blaze above Summerland

Kozakevich said fires were bound to happen with the drastic switch to hot weather. She said she heard thunder before she went into the public meeting at 7 p.m. and knew that would bring lightening.

She said the inability to get through to 911 is usually not an issue.

“it’s not that something is not getting reported but that 100 people are phoning about the same thing. It’s tough for people when they don’t get an answer when calling 911.”

Residents in the Central Okanagan also complained of ‘failed calls’ or dispatch hanging up on them when they dialed 911.

One resident said he tried to call 911 regarding a fire in Kelowna, but was immediately put on hold and then the call dropped.

A fire in Naramata came dangerously close to a home, Kozakevich said.

“It was on North Naramata Road around the 6,000 block, which means it’s headed towards Indian Rock. There was a house near there but the Naramata fire department put it out,” she said.

The other fire is up in the hills near the KVR trail near a place known as Rock Oven Park.

“There’s no structures up there. B.C. Wildfire is up there working on it now. So between the Naramata Fire Department and the B.C. Wildfire Service things are starting to calm down,” she said.

Kozakevich said she could see the Summerland Fire from her deck and noted that air bombers and helicopters were on scene and it looked as if the fire was being contained.

Related: Update: Several fires burning in Lower Similkameen

Just Posted

New trustees sworn in for North Okanagan-Shuswap School District

First official board meeting set for Tuesday, Nov. 20

Need outstrips funds at Shuswap Children’s Association

Raffle to help provide vital services to children with developmental delays or disabilities

Salmon Arm Silverbacks’ fall in close 3-2 loss against Merritt Centennials

Home ice winning streak brought to a close by division leaders

Salmon Arm council approves two of three retail cannabis store applications

One application for uptown location denied due to proximity to local schools

Roots & Blues presents A Tribute to the Blues Songs of Christmas

Uncle Wiggly’s Hot Shoes Blues Band will perform at the Nexus at First in Salmon Arm

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

Price makes 36 saves as Habs edge Canucks 3-2

Late goal lifts Montreal past Vancouver

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

New maintenance crew to look after Okanagan Connector

Acciona Infrastructure Maintenance Inc. will replace Argo Road Maintenance Inc. in 2019

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

Most Read