An Evacuation Alert is an advance notification of danger in your area. They are issued to advise everyone of the potential for loss of life from a hazard. Residents will be given as much advance notice as possible prior to an evacuation. However, sometimes you may receive limited advance notice, due to changing conditions.
When an alert is issued, you do not need to leave, but you need to get ready to evacuate. If you leave before or during the alert period, it's called a voluntary evacuation.
Evacuation Alerts will be delivered to your residence or place of business. If you are registered for SLRD Alert, the SLRD emergency notification service, you will be contacted by telephone, text message or email to advise you of the Evacuation Alert. You will also hear about evacuation alerts through the SLRD website and social media channels (Facebook and Twitter - @slrd_bc and @slrd_emergency).
Monitor news sources for information on evacuation orders, locations of Reception Centres and other instructions.
When an Evacuation Alert is issued, remember the 5 P's:
- Locate all family members or co-workers and designate a meeting location outside of the evacuation area, should an evacuation be called while separated.
- Prepare to move any disabled people and / or children.
- Arrange to transport your household members or co-workers in the event of an evacuation order.
- If you do not have access to a vehicle, make arrangements with a neighbour or nearby friend so you'll have a plan in place to leave the area in the event that you need to evacuate.
- Arrange accommodation for your family outside the evacuation area if possible. In the event of an evacuation, Reception Centres will be opened if required.
- Gather season-appropriate clothing, cell phones and chargers, purse/wallet, blankets and pillows, sleeping bags, water, snacks, books and games—be ready to "Grab and Go" should an Evacuation Order be issued.
- Gather important personal documents regarding home ownership, insurance, birth records, wills, credit cards, cash, etc.
- Gather the medications and prescriptions you will need for several days, as well as medical/dental/vision records and the names and telephone numbers of your family physicians.
- Remember your eye glasses!
- Gather any pictures, photo albums, videos and other prescious keepsakes.
PETS (& LIVESTOCK):
- Gather everything you need for your pets, including food and water, collars, leashes and travel carriers.
- Make arrangements to move your livestock to a safe area outside of the Evacuation Alert area, and if possible, move them. This way, you'll know they will be safe should an Evacuation Order be issued and you have to leave on very short notice.
- If you have livestock, download and review the SLRD's Commercial Livestock Relocation Guide, which outlines the roles, responsibilities and response procedures for commercial livestock relocation when a major emergency is occurring or imminent.
If an Evacuation Order is made, you should obey it for your own safety. An Evacuation Order will only be issued if the SLRD believes there is imminent potential for loss of life or injury.
If you are registered for SLRD Alert, the SLRD emergency notification service, you will be contacted by telephone, text message or email to advise you of the Evacuation Order and provide further instructions.
If time permits, depending on the emergency situation, the RCMP or another first responder agency will knock at your door and deliver the Evacuation Order. They will tell you where to go when you leave and they'll connect you with assistance if required.
If the emergency is an immediate threat to your area, you will hear emergency vehicle sirens, see flashing emergency lights and hear "Evacuate!" over the loud hailer. You will also hear about evacuation orders through the SLRD website and social media channels (Facebook and Twitter - @slrd_bc and @slrd_emergency).
Things that should be done when an Evacuation Order is issued:
- Listen closely to local media and emergency officials for information and updates and evacuation routes.
- Follow the directions of emergency personnel.
- Prepare to move any disabled people and / or children.
- Collect pets and pet needs, including food and medication.
- Contact an out-of-area friend or relative and let them know that you've left and where you can be found (i.e. Reception Centre). Leave a note behind.
- Turn off all lights and appliances (except your fridge and freezer).
- Turn off or reduce heat or air conditioning.
- Lock your doors.
- Gather your family members and leave immediately.
- Remember to take your 72-Hour Emergency Kit.
- Check in at the indicated Reception Centre to let them know that you and your family are safe. Even if you are planning to stay with a friend or relative, it is essential that you check in at the designated Reception Centre so that emergency personnel know that you are safe.
When local authorities deem the area to be safe, an Evacuation Alert / Order will be rescinded. A Rescind declaration means that you can return home. Stay tuned to local communication channels or networks for more information.
Occasionally an evacuation may cause more danger to residents than staying in place. If you are advised to shelter-in-place, this may mean that there has been a release of a hazardous substance and it is safer to remain indoors than to go outside. Shelter-in-place orders may also be issued in the case of sudden storms or earthquakes.
In the event of a shelter-in-place order, information will broadcast via local media as well as through the SLRD website and social media channels (Facebook and Twitter - @slrd_bc and @slrd_emergency). If you are registered for SLRD Alert, the SLRD emergency notification service, you will be contacted by telephone, text message or email to advise you of the shelter-in-place instructions.
A decision to shelter-in-place is made to save lives - do not ignore it!
If you are instructed to shelter-in-place:
- Go indoors immediately, and bring pets indoors as well.
- Close all doors and windows, and shut off heating or cooling systems in the house.
- Seal off any place that could let outside air in, like fireplaces, doors, windows, and vents.
- Place wet towels at the base of doors.
- Listen for any updates and remain sheltered until you hear from emergency officials that the hazard has been cleared.