During a major emergency:

  • Stay calm!
  • Follow your emergency plan.
  • Get your emergency kit.
  • Ensure your own safety before aiding others.
  • Listen to television and radio for information from local officials.
  • Stay where you are (shelter-in-place) until you are informed that the emergency has passed or to evacuate.

Cell Phone use During an Emergency

It is important for you to keep in mind that during an emergency, many more people are trying to use their wireless and wireline telephones at the same time and may create network congestion. Some tips:

  1. Limit non-emergency calls
  2. Make calls brief
  3. Text message instead


When events such as fire or floods endanger communities residents may need to evacuate the area until it is safe to return. Evacuation is the process of removing persons from an area of danger to an area of safety. Evacuation may be either local, affecting a single building or group of buildings, or widespread, affecting a whole community.

Evacuation Stages

Stage 1 - Evacuation Alert

An Evacuation Alert allows for the population at risk to begin preparing to voluntarily leave the affected area when it is necessary.

If an evacuation alert is issued:

  • Make sure your emergency kit is assembled
  • Arrange transportation if necessary
  • Make sure you know the planned meeting place for your family
  • Prepare to evacuate children, the disable and elderly and relocate pets if possible
  • Arrange accommodation for your family if possible
  • Follow the directions of authorities

Stage 2 - Evacuation Order

Sometimes an Evacuation Order is immediate and no evacuation alert is given. In other cases an Evacuation Order may be preceded by an evacuation alert.

To order an evacuation, the head of a local government authority must declare a "State of Local Emergency" as enabled under the Emergency Program Act. These orders are issued in the interest of life safety and will be enforced and carried out by the RCMP, local police, fire, search and rescue, and local authorities though door-to-door contact, radio and television broadcasts and telephoning.

If an evacuation order is issued:

  • Stay calm!
  • Get your emergency kit
  • Go to the nearest evacuation site
  • Report to the reception centre and register with staffing personnel so friends and family can contact you
  • Keep a flashlight and portable radio with you
  • Follow the instructions of authorities
  • Take everything that you will need as you may not be able to return

Stage 3 - Rescind

Once the emergency is under control and the emergency area is declared safe, a rescind declaration is issued and residents will be allowed to return to their homes.

Shelter in Place

Occasionally an evacuation may cause more danger to residents than staying in place. In these cases such as sudden storms or earthquakes residents may need to shelter in place.

If you are told to shelter in place:

  • Go inside your home or the nearest building as soon as possible
  • Close all windows, doors, vents, fireplaces, and openings
  • Close all curtains and window coverings and stay away from windows
  • Seal any leaks with duct tape, aluminum foil, or plastic wrap
  • Turn off heating and ventilation systems
  • Avoid using elevators
  • Turn on the television or radio for emergency updates
  • Do not leave the building until you are advised that it is safe
  • Do not try to pick up your children as they will be safer sheltering at school
  • Remain where you are until you are told by authorities that it is safe to do otherwise.