Evacuation Orders 101

What to know about Evacuation Orders

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.

Evacuation Alert

An Evacuation Alert 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.

Voluntary Evacuation Order

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 but you should prepare to leave on a moment's 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

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.

All Clear 

Once the danger has passed, 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.

Reception Centres

Municipalities that issue evacuation orders will also provide instructions as to the routes to follow and where Reception Centres are located.

Follow the instructions provided and ensure your family registers at the Reception Centre even if you do not intend on staying there.


What Makes it All Clear

Inspection Markings on Affected Residence

Inspection Markings on Affected Residence

During an evacuation, part of the recovery process is to ensure that residents and business owners return to the area as quickly as possible. This means that any known perils must have been identified and re-mediated.

The process includes the need for a minimum standard of heating, water, sewer and communication to be established within the area. There is also a need to ensure that ground water, in areas serviced by wells, has not been affected. Likewise contamination from burning objects must not have left behind toxins or harmful residues that will make persons sick.

Once all of the safety concerns have been met the "ALL CLEAR" will be broadcast and persons who registered at the reception center will be advised.

During the inspection process it may be possible for the Regional Emergency Management Committee to arrange tours through affected areas so that residents may get first hand information about the state of their properties. These tours would only be conducted if the area was safe to travel through but not necessarily safe to take up residency in.