Authorities will not ask you to leave your home unless they have reason to believe that you may be in danger. If a number of homes and businesses are evacuated, authorities will likely establish a Reception Centre. Be sure to register at the Reception Centre even if you are not planning to stay there. Authorities need to track evacuees as closely as possible.
Having a Ready to-Go-Kit is important for a quick evacuation response. If you are ordered to evacuate, take your Ready-to-Go Kit, your wallet, personal identification for each family member and copies of essential family documents with you. Bring a cellular phone and spare battery or charger with you, if you have one.
Use travel routes specified by local authorities. If you have time, call or email your out-of-town contact. Tell them where you are going and when you expect to arrive. Once you are safe, let them know. Tell them if any family members have become separated. If possible, leave a note telling others when you left and where you are.
Make sure all electrical appliances are turned off. Shut off water and electricity if officials tell you to do so. Leave natural gas service on unless officials tell you to turn it off. If you turn off this service, the natural gas company has to reconnect it.
In a major emergency, it could take weeks for a professional to respond. Take pets with you. Lock your home and follow instructions from authorities. Do not return home until authorities advise that it is safe to do so.
Stages of an evacuation
Should an evacuation be required, a three stage evacuation process begins:
Stage one – evacuation alert
- Emergency officials will notify you through the various channels – website, social media, High River ALERT System, etc. of the potential need to evacuate.
- Information will be provided to you about the nature of the hazard.
- An evacuation alert is given to provide you the opportunity to prepare your home or business. Keep in mind that conditions may change quickly and the evacuation alert may be upgraded to an evacuation order with very short notice.
Stage two – evacuation order
There are two types of evacuation orders:
- A voluntary evacuation order is issued when officials believe that public safety may be at risk and conditions could worsen very quickly. If you have children, elderly people or someone with special needs within the home, it is recommended that you leave as you may need extra time or support, which will be more difficult to obtain during a mandatory evacuation.
- When a voluntary evacuation order is issued, you can choose to evacuate the affected area immediately or not. If you choose to stay, you should be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice should conditions worsen.
- Returning to the affected area will not be restricted while the voluntary evacuation order is in effect.
- A mandatory evacuation order is issued when officials believe that public safety is at risk and conditions are such that the Town is not able to provide its typical level of service (e.g. respond to 9-I-I calls). It is imperative that you leave for your own safety. By not leaving you will pose a risk to first responders and impede the ability for the Town to respond to the emergency.
- When a mandatory evacuation order is issued, you must evacuate the affected area immediately.
- Returning to the affected area will be restricted while the mandatory evacuation order is in effect.
Stage three – all clear
- Once the danger has passed, you are allowed to return to the area previously evacuated.
- If the danger returns, an evacuation alert or order may be issued again.