Authorities will only ask you to leave your home if they have reason to believe you are in danger.

Evacuation alerts warn the public of a potential or current threat. These alerts provide critical information about an emergency and what you need to do. Alerts can lead to orders, so you should prepare to evacuate.

Evacuation orders are issued when the public must leave the area for their own safety.

Each emergency is different so there is no step-by-step guide that evacuations follow. If an evacuation alert is issued, you may have time to prepare your home for evacuation. If an evacuation order is issued, you will likely only have time to grab your emergency kit.

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What to Do When an Evacuation Alert or Order is Issued

The below information is a guide; in an actual emergency, authorities will provide specific information and instructions.

Evacuation alert
  • Grab your emergency kit and bring it with you.
  • In some cases, authorities will give instructions on how to protect your home. They may ask you to shut off water, electricity or gas. Do not shut off your utilities unless directed to do so.

If time permits, consider the following:

  • Gather valuables and cherished items to bring with you.
  • Remove all ornaments and suspended items like wind chimes or bird feeders from trees
  • Bring all yard furnishings, bikes, trash cans, toys and outside items into the house.
  • Empty fridges and deep freezes of their contents and prop open the doors/lids.
  • Close and lock all windows.
  • Move furniture, electrical appliances and other belongings to floors above ground level, or elevate them off the floor if possible.
  • Wrap electronics in layers of protective plastic wrap and tape to prevent water from getting inside.
  • Lock all doors and remove any “emergency keys” you have hidden outside.
  • Let your out-of-town contact know what is happening in case you are separated from loved ones.
Evacuation order
  • Grab your emergency kit and bring it with you.
  • If time permits, leave a note in your mailbox letting authorities know where you are going and how you can be reached.
  • Leave your location as soon as authorities tell you to.
  • Avoid low-lying areas such as ravines or underpasses that could flood quickly.
  • If you are caught in fast-rising waters and your vehicle stalls, abandon it to save yourself and your passengers.
  • Follow evacuation routes specified by authorities. Do not take shortcuts.
  • Drive carefully with headlights on. Make way for pedestrians and emergency vehicles.

Evacuating With Livestock

If time permits to evacuate with livestock:

  • Grab your livestock emergency kit.
  • If evacuation is due to a fire, remove any halters, blankets, or other items that could catch fire or possibly melt due to extreme heat from a fire.
  • Ensure animals are marked with a visual identifier in case they get loose. Use a semipermanent livestock marker to put your cell number or a unique mark on their bodies.
  • For animals without a visual identifier – such as a tag, tattoo or brand – take photos of the animal for easier identification later.
  • Haul feed and water to the evacuation location if it isn’t already there.
  • Consider the need for shelter. Extreme cold and heat can be harmful to animals.

There may be situations where an evacuation is sudden and you do not have time to evacuate with your livestock. If this occurs:

  • Ensure animals are marked with a visual identifier in case they get loose. Use a semipermanent livestock marker to put your cell number or a unique mark on their bodies.
  • Leave at least 72 hours of feed and water that does not need power to function (e.g., electric waterers).
  • Open gates or reroute fencing to create a large area for unrestricted movement and help avoid hazards.
  • Keep barn doors closed to prevent animals from going back inside where they can be trapped.
  • Connect with your emergency contacts about care and feeding for the animals.
  • Ensure handling equipment and tools are readily available for first responders to free animals if they become trapped.

Evacuating With Pets and Other Animals

You should always evacuate with household pets and pet emergency kit.

Many local animal rescues, shelters and residents are offering space for pets such as dogs, cats and other caged pets. Connect to individual organizations for information on a temporary placement for your pet during the incident.

Reception Centres

A reception centre may be set up to connect displaced individuals with important resources, like shelter, food and medical care. Reception centres are also where you’d register if you had to evacuate or were impacted by an emergency.

If you go to a reception centre, it is recommended that you bring your emergency kit with you.

Pets may not be allowed in all reception centres. Take steps to identify pet-friendly hotels or pet boarding facilities in and out of your local area. Be prepared to leave your pets with a relative or friend and have your pets’ emergency kit ready to ensure their needs can be met.

If a reception centre is set up, authorities will tell you what you can and can’t bring. Below is a list of items generally not accepted:

  • large quantities of fuel such as gasoline, diesel and propane
  • firearms and ammunition
  • alcohol or cannabis products
  • street drugs
  • pets (may be redirected to alternate locations)
  • weapons such as knives, clubs and chains

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