Each year, many emergencies occur in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo that are quickly handled by response organizations, all with little impact to the public. However, conditions can quickly change, resulting in the sudden evacuation of people and pets from homes and businesses, often with little warning or advance notice.
An evacuation can occur in a variety of emergencies and circumstances. The Municipality encompasses a large geographical area, with a number of diverse communities, each with unique needs. The popularity of outdoor recreational activities continues to grow throughout our region. While emergency services are readily available to persons in all urban and rural communities, meeting the needs of persons in remote areas during an emergency or disaster may be difficult.
Preparation is Key
Planning for the possibility of an evacuation begins at home or before you engage in any outdoor activity. There are steps you can take to prepare you and your family if you must evacuate and reduce the stress you will experience, both during and after such an event.
Know the Risks
The following events are considered potential hazards within the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and may require an evacuation:
- Flooding due to ice jams on rivers or heavy rains
- Pipeline or vessel rupture of volatile materials under pressure
- Public health emergencies (i.e. Pandemic Influenza)
- Road, highway or rail incidents involving a dangerous goods spill, fire and/or explosion
- Severe weather events, including:
- Snow or ice storms with power outages
- Wildfires (310-FIRE)
Stages of an Evacuation
Should an evacuation be required in an emergency situation, a three stage evacuation process begins:
Stage 1 - Evacuation Alert
- Emergency Officials will notify the population at risk of the potential need to evacuate.
- Information will be provided to you about the nature of the danger in the emergency situation.
- Although you may have time to prepare your home or business, conditions may change quickly and evacuation orders may be given with very short notice.
Stage 2 - Evacuation Order
- When issued, you must evacuate the affected area immediately.
- Returning to the affected area will be restricted while the Evacuation Order is in effect.
Stage 3 - All Clear
- Once the danger has passed, the population at risk is allowed to return to the area previously evacuated.
- However, the danger may return and an Evacuation Alert or Evacuation Order may be issued again.