Emergency Response

Protecting public safety is the priority of government. When emergencies occur, several agencies must work together to assist people with evacuations and access to shelter, water and food. The RDCK has emergency plans in place to protect our citizens and, in the event of an emergency, and with support from the Provincial government, will activate our emergency operations centre (EOC) to coordinate the activities to protect your safety. Learn more about our Emergency Management Program in the RDCK.


About Evacuations

In extreme conditions, some people may want to make arrangements to stay with relatives, friends or neighbours. Listen to weather forecasts and instructions from local officials, as reception or warming/cooling centres may be set up in your community. Keep an eye out for neighbours who may be at-risk in severe conditions. Always follow the instructions of first responders and local emergency officials.

Ensure a supply of basic essentials in your home for at least 72 hours. If you must leave your home on short notice, remember to take your "Grab and Go" Emergency Kit . The most important items are:

  • Emergency supplies including water and food
  • First aid kit
  • Important documents, cash and family identification
  • Fueled up vehicle
  • Pets / Pet items: food, water, leash and carrier
  • Insurance papers: Policy number and phone number
  • "Grab & Go" Emergency Kit

 Evacuation Alert

What is the purpose of an evacuation alert?

  • An evacuation alert is a warning about a potential imminent threat to life and property. It is a precautionary measure. It is meant to give affected residents within an impacted area time to prepare in case they are told to evacuate. 
  • When placed on alert, residents must be prepared to leave their homes on short notice.
  • On the Alert, residents should make lodging plans with family, friends or commercial accommodations.
  • Evacuation Alerts are active until the "Alert Removal" Notification is published.

 How do I prepare for an evacuation?

  • Monitor the RDCK EOC Information page and local media updates.
  • Gather your "Grab & Go" Emergency Kit, and other important documents and valuables
  • Consider small children, the elderly, or anyone that may need more time to evacuate.
  • Plan for your pets. It may be best to evacuate certain pets on the Alert.
  • Follow the instructions of local emergency and transportation officials.

 How is the area in the evacuation alert determined?

  • The RDCK EOC personnel works directly with qualified professionals and other government agencies to determine the Alert Perimeter.

 What if I'm in the evacuation alert zone as identified on maps but I didn't receive a notice from emergency personnel?

  • Please contact us directly so that we can verify that you are in the alert zone.  Phone 1-800-268-7325 or email info@rdck.bc.ca

 Evacuating while under evacuation alert:

  • ESS and insurance companies do not provide support for people who evacuate while under evacuation alert. If you choose to evacuate before an evacuation order, keep in mind that you are responsible for all expenses. 
  • How Emergency Support Service works
  • If you are under evacuation alert and you have health or evacuation concerns contact the RDCK Emergency Operations Centre (EOC): 250-352-7701

Evacuation Order

What is an Evacuation Order?

  • Those who have been placed under an evacuation order must leave the area immediately.
  • If you are evacuated, local officials will provide you with information about the location of a Reception Centre. Everyone must register at the Reception Centre and this can be done in person or online (ess.gov.bc.ca). This ensures that we know you are safe. We can then communicate this information to concerned family and friends.
  • Insurance: Standard home, tenant and condo insurance policies provide coverage for some of your expenses (including accommodation) when your home is on mandatory evacuation order. Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible after you have safely evacuated. for questions regarding your insurance claim or other, contact the Insurance Bureau of Canada: 1-844-227-5422.
  • Emergency Support Services: When you insurance coverage has been exhausted while you are evacuated, short term assistance for immediate needs of food, shelter, clothing and emotional support may be available at the Reception Centre. Emergency Support Services volunteers (ESS) provide assistance to people for the first 72 hours after a disaster.
  • Read the Insurance vs Emergency Support Services document.

Can I decide for myself if I have to evacuate after doing my own assessment of the situation?

  • Being aware of what is happening around you is of utmost importance in ensuring you and your family are safe.
  • Not all emergencies happen in a way that gives enough time for the authorities to communicate what you need to do, and what you need to be aware of. Maintaining situational awareness means that you are looking out for yourself and paying attention to your environment to notice changes that could indicate a pending event. You could be the person that alerts the authorities!
  • It is also good to maintain this situational awareness when there is a known emergency occurring and your area is on an Evacuation Alert. This allows you to make your own decision if you want to leave before an Order is declared--everybody’s threshold for risk is different. Keep in mind that if you evacuate when under evacuation alert, neither insurance providers or ESS will provide support.
  • If you receive an Evacuation Order, you must heed it. When moving from an Evacuation Alert to an Evacuation Order, authorities base their decisions on information that may not be immediately available to the public, which means your situational awareness may not be as good as you think.
  • When people choose not to evacuate during an Order, they not only affect the ability of the authorities to respond to the actual emergency, but they also put the safety—and potentially the lives—of the responders at risk if they require rescuing.
  • So make sure you maintain situational awareness, but please cooperate with authorities when it comes to Evacuation Orders. It might mean your life, or someone else’s.

May I return briefly to my home during an Evacuation Order?

Where will I stay if I'm evacuated?

  • It is recommended that you find an alternate place to stay with local accommodations, family or friends. The Reception Centre will be able to provide you with detailed information at the time of the evacuation.

Evacuations and your Animals

If I'm evacuated, will my pets be taken care of?

  • If you are issued an Evacuation Alert, prepare by having cages for your pets, as well as food and food/water bowls. Also make sure that your pets are wearing identification. Emergency Support Services (ESS) will have limited space for evacuated pets. If possible, please arrange to have your pets stay with friends or family. Contact local pet boarding companies when an Evacuation Alert is issued.
  • For more information on Livestock Relocation, please visit: 

Shelter in Place

During specific emergencies, officials may tell you to stay indoors. To learn more about the steps to shelter in place, visit PreparedBC.

Evacuation Rescind

When the RDCK declares that it is safe to return home or end a shelter in place, there is some important information for you to know:

  • The RDCK will publish a media release announcing that the Evacuation Order has been lifted. This message will also be posted on the RDCK emergency information page and on Social Media. 
  • Returning home after a wildfire emergency
  • Disposal of damaged or destroyed structures and equipment: Guidance document

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The content on this page was last updated January 3 2024 at 1:33 AM