When to Evacuate
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What is a Voluntary Evacuation Notice?
A Voluntary Evacuation Notice means that the potential for flooding has escalated from the norm and there is a high probability that flooding will occur. Remaining in the area is becoming increasingly dangerous. The Notice allows individuals discretion on whether to evacuate or to remain in the area.
The Notice normally provides sufficient warning to permit an orderly evacuation and sufficient time for evacuating high risk populations and facilities such as schools, recreation centres and other gathering places.
What is a Mandatory Evacuation Order?
A Mandatory Evacuation Order means that residents should evacuate immediately. For your safety, you are required to immediately evacuate the designated areas, as forecasts indicate that flooding is imminent and the areas are unsafe. Failure to comply with this order places you at risk. Emergency workers may not be able to provide further assistance to you.
Evacuation from the lower townsite will be activated at the 246.5 metre water level. Residents will be advised through media announcements when an evacuation is required. Updated information will be available through the Emergency Management Hotline at 780-799-8000 and on this website.
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, 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.
When Ordered to Evacuate
- Take your Emergency Kit with you.
- Always follow the instructions of local emergency officials. They may come door-to-door or provide information through radio stations.
- Do not remain in areas under evacuation order. Doing so puts you and your family at risk, as well as those who may have to rescue you.
- Each family member should have waterproof clothing and footwear.
- Remember your neighbours, particularly the elderly, who may need your help or the assistance of emergency services.
- Secure your home by locking all doors and windows. Leave a note on your door to inform family members when you left and where you went.
An evacuation map can be viewed in the River Breakup Brochure.
When Leaving the Area
- Follow all designated evacuation routes. Do not take short cuts.
- Barricades are placed on roads for your protection. If you come across a barricade, go another way.
- Do not walk through moving water. Less than 15 cm (6 inches) of moving water can make you fall.
- Standing water may be electrically charged from ground or downed power lines.
- Watch for damaged roads, loose or downed wires and fallen objects on roads.
- Do not drive through flooded areas. The water may be deeper than it looks. Moving water can quickly sweep you and your vehicle away.
- If your vehicle stalls in rising waters, all occupants should get out immediately and go to higher ground.
- Do not attempt search and rescue operations on your own. Call 9-1-1 for assistance.
- Do not return to your home or business while the Evacuation Order is in effect.
- Stay away from flood zones and response routes.
During a flood, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo will establish Reception Centers to receive evacuees. These temporary facilities may be schools, churches, community halls, arenas, auditoriums, or other public or private facilities, depending on the severity of the emergency and what is available at the time.
Reception Centres provide a number of services:
- Registration and inquiry
- Temporary lodging for evacuees
- Emergency clothing
- Emergency meals
- Personal services
- Volunteer coordination
When You Return Home
When an evacuation order is lifted, find out what to do After a Flood.