Outdoor Safety Tips
Kelowna is surrounded by magnificent peaks and valleys that give way to a wide array of outdoor recreation opportunities. Whether you’re out for a short hike, exploring the backcountry, or hitting some of the mountain bike trails, we want everyone to stay safe. Below are helpful tips that will make sure you have the best time exploring our region's four-season outdoor playground.
When outdoors, no matter the activity or the length of time you plan to spend outside, always practice the three Ts:
Anytime you’re heading outdoors be sure to:
- Check the weather
- Plan your travel route
- Know the terrain and conditions
- Tell someone where you’re going and how long you expect to be away
Know your limits when outdoors and ensure you have done your research and that you have the skills and abilities needed for the activity you're taking part in.
Taking the essentials
Depending on the activity and the length of time you’re outdoors, consider bringing the following with you:
- First aid kit
- Sun protection like a hat, sunscreen, and appropriate clothing
- Bug protection like spray and appropriate clothing
- Fire-making kit
- Cell phone
Learn more about the three Ts and how to explore safely on the AdventureSmart website.
Follow the Camper's Code, take the pledge, and spread the word:
- Respect wildlife
- Plan ahead and be prepared
- Take only photos
- Control your pets
- Respect others
- Practice fire safety
- Store food safely
- Respect staff and signs
- Don't litter
Wildfire Prevention & Safety
Kelowna is known for its great weather, which includes hot summer days. This, however, also means there is an increased risk of wildfires in our area. Did you know, on average, 40% of wildfires in British Columbia are human-caused? It’s imperative that we work together to stay safe and reduce the risk when out exploring.
Here are a few things to keep in mind to help prevent wildfires:
- Never throw burning materials on the ground or out of vehicles, such as lit cigarettes.
- If you're creating a fire, make sure to be fully prepared.
- Always check if fire restrictions are in place.
- Never leave a campfire unattended and make sure you have enough water to put it out (eight litres is recommended).
- Always build a fire at least three meters away from standing trees, stumps, and logs.
- Be cautious about any activities that can create a spark or any heat sources sufficient enough to ignite a fire.
- Purchasing and setting off personal fireworks and firecrackers is illegal in Kelowna.
There are significant fines for wildfire-related violations. To report a wildfire or irresponsible behaviour that could start a wildfire in British Columbia, please call 1 800 663-5555 or (*5555 from a cell phone) as soon as possible.
The following links will provide additional resources and information:
Hot Weather Safety
While hot weather can affect everyone’s health, seniors and persons with chronic poor health are most at risk. Here are some tips for keeping cool:
- Protect yourself from the sun by staying in the shade, avoiding direct sun mid-day, wearing a hat and protective clothing, using sunscreen, and wearing UV-protective eyewear.
- Seek cooler, breezier areas when outdoors, such as large parks near the water with lots of trees.
- Stay hydrated—drink water regularly, even more than you think you need.
- Take it slow with outdoor activities—rest and relax often if you feel fatigued.
- NEVER leave children or pets alone in a parked car. Temperatures can rise rapidly in enclosed vehicles, becoming much hotter than the outdoor temperature.
Visit the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre website for the latest updates on heat warnings and related resources, such as the opening of public cooling centres.
While you're out exploring, it’s important to remember that we share this beautiful place with many different types of wildlife and whereas attacks are very rare, it’s also important to stay safe and be prepared.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Always be aware of your surroundings.
- If you are hiking into areas where you might encounter bears, try and travel in a group of at least 4 people, carry a bear bell or make plenty of noise, and carry bear spray.
- Do not leave any food on the trails, even organic material, as it can draw wildlife to the trail.
- Always keep your pets on a leash.
- Never approach or feed wild animals, no matter how small and friendly. This can have disastrous consequences for people and animals.
For more information on wildlife tips, please visit the WildSafeBC and BC Parks websites.