'Community Champions' sought out to relay vital emergency info in South Okanagan | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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'Community Champions' sought out to relay vital emergency info in South Okanagan

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen will be deputizing trustworthy residents to sift through the misinformation during wildfires and other local emergencies.

To help prevent the spread of misinformation during emergencies, the regional district will select “key people within their communities” to be so-called Community Champions. Those selected will be responsible for posting accurate and timely info on local bulletin boards, Facebook groups, and other social media channels.

Andrea Rendall is a communications coordinator with the regional district who says the purpose of the program is to help public information reach a wider audience.

“A Community Champion is a person known to have their finger on the pulse of their community,” she said in an email.

“They know how their neighbours prefer to get their information, either by email, social media, local bulletin board, word of mouth or any other means that fits their community.”

Rendall said the plan is to recruit Champions in every community within the regional boundaries.

READ MORE: Alert system in South Okanagan regional district getting replaced

No training is required. For some, the commitment could require as little as forwarding an email to a list of neighbours, she said. Those chosen to be Champions will be provided with accurate information to share by the RDOS, and they can go about spreading it through whichever mediums suits their strengths.

The position is unpaid however the costs of printing and posting notices can get reimbursed with a receipt.

So far there are already seven Community Champions active throughout the region.

“Community Champions help amplify news and notices relevant to their community, in the way they want to receive it,” said Rendall.

"For example, if a retirement community meets for coffee in the clubhouse on Wednesday mornings, the Community Champion in that area would know that and be able to share the news with those in attendance, and post a notice in the clubhouse.”

Anybody interested in becoming a Community Champion can learn how to apply by contacting the RDOS via email

Information is usually safe to trust when it is published on the websites or official social media pages belonging to a fire department or a local government.

The Voyent Alert! app also offers emergency updates, and alerts are localized and customizable.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dan Walton or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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