Evacuation Orders 101



Evacuations are ordered when conditions exist that put you and your family in immediate danger or are likely to put you and your family in danger.  Each event is different so there is no step by step procedure that evacuations follow. In cases where an event is sudden and unexpected Mandatory Evacuation Orders may be issued immediately. In other cases that build off of a smaller event you may have a combination of alerts, Voluntary Evacuation Orders and then Mandatory Evacuation Orders. Here is a general explanation of each.

In many cases there is an Evacuation Alert issued that outlines the nature of the event and the impact it is expected to have on residents. This alert is given so that you can prepare your family, home and business for a potential evacuation. Conditions relevant to the Evacuation Alert can change rapidly and you are advised to make all necessary preparations so you are ready to evacuate if necessary. Alerts may be issued many days or just a few hours in advance of the situation.

At times a Voluntary Evacuation Order is issued when circumstances exist that put your family at risk and when conditions could worsen very quickly. You are not required to leave due to a Voluntary Evacuation Order however you should prepare to leave on a moments notice. If you have special needs or someone within your family needs extra time or support in order to evacuate this advance warning will give you extra opportunity. During a Voluntary Evacuation Order you are not restricted from returning to your residence or place of business.

Mandatory Evacuation Order is issued when conditions are such that the danger of loss of life or serious injury is extreme.It is also an indication that the municipality is not able to maintain a standard level of response due to the impact of the event. Your evacuation will assist the emergency responders in completing their tasks without additional risks or additional impediments. During a Mandatory Evacuation Order you will not be able to return to the affected area unless officials have arranged supervised tours. Anyone located inside the evacuated area during a Mandatory Evacuation Order is subject to arrest and detention depending on circumstance.

Once the danger is past officials will provide an All Clear notification so that you and your family can return to the affected area. This may be subject to inspections or evaluations prior to you occupying your business or residence. The evacuation process may be re-instituted at any time should the danger return or a new danger present itself.

Municipalities that issue evacuation orders will also provide instructions as to the routes to follow and where Reception Centers are located. Please follow the instructions provided and ensure your family registers at the reception center even if you do not intend on staying there. Review the Checklist Button above for ideas on how to create and maintain your Emergency Preparedness Kit and what items you can and cannot take to a Reception Center.