Natural Disaster Champions: Responding to 2021 Princeton flooding

May 20, 2022

Often during an emergency, there are people who stand out as exceptional leaders. Michael-Ann Miller (pictured above), clinical operations manager in the South Okanagan (SOK), is one of them.

In the fall of 2021, the Tulameen River crested and flooded the town of Princeton in the SOK. During the flood, with roads and highways cut off due to water rising, Michael-Ann was the eyes and ears on the ground, supporting and coordinating emergency efforts. Homes were devastated, and water, gas and other utilities were impacted. 

“I’m sure she did a lot more than I know about!” said Sarah Edwards, manager of the primary care network in the SOK. “Michael-Ann is a true superstar who cares greatly about her community and is passionate about providing access to safe and excellent health care in rural communities.”

Not only did Michael-Ann support and coordinate the move of patients from the hospital facilities in her care but also from Ridgewood Lodge long-term care facility, as its manager was on vacation at the time. Michael-Ann also fielded the strong emotions and stress coming from both staff and the community of Princeton. At the same time, she was also dealing with personal impacts of the flood, and caring for her family and elderly in-law extended family.

“Michael-Ann worked tirelessly to ensure everyone was evacuated safely, effectively and efficiently, and in a timely way,” said Jana Abetkoff, directory of primary care in the SOK. “She supported staff struggling to work in challenging conditions while managing their own personal impacts as well.

"The dedication she demonstrated was exemplary in this circumstance. We will forever be grateful for her professionalism, resilience, organization and commitment to staff, clients and her community."

Natural Disaster Champions series

In 2021, the B.C. Interior region experienced a natural disaster season like none other. Interior Health staff stepped up and came together to support each other, patients, friends, family and communities. We’re sharing the stories of staff members reflecting on how being prepared – at home and at work – can make all the difference when minutes matter.

View more stories in the series

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