Ordering an evacuation of all or part of an emergency area is a very serious step and requires detailed planning. In BC, the Emergency Program Act permits the head of a local authority to declare a state of local emergency, which allows the local authority to order an evacuation should it be absolutely necessary. There are several other statutes (Fire Services Act, Forest and Range Practices Act, Public Health Act, Environment Management Act, and the Mines Act) that can be used to order an evacuation.
The City utilizes Voyent Alert! to deliver emergency alerts directly to registrants via the mobile app, text, email, or voice calls. Residents can register at anytime by downloading the Voyent Alert! App on your smartphone, or visit Voyent Alert! to register via email, text, or phone call.
What is the difference?
When an Evacuation Alert is issued, residents are encouraged to prepare for the possibility of evacuation and should get prepared to leave your home on short notice.
- Residents registered with Voyent Alert! will receive a critical alert notifying them that their affected location has been put on Evacuation Alert and advising them to get prepared.
- Locate all family members and designate a meeting area outside the evacuation area, should an Evacuation Order be called while separated.
- Hook up all recreational vehicles and trailers before an Evacuation Order is issued.
- Pack essential items such as government-issued ID, medications, eyeglasses, valuable papers (e.g. insurance, credit, and mortgage information), immediate care needs for dependents and, if time and space permits, keepsakes for quick departure.
- Be prepared to be away from your home for an extended period of time.
- Prepare to move disabled persons, children, and/or neighbours, if assistance is needed.
- Prepare to take pets with you and move livestock to a safe area (if possible).
- Arrange transportation for all your household members.
- Fill the gas tanks of personal vehicles.
- Arrange accommodation for all members of the residence. Try to arrange to stay with friends or family if at all possible in the case of an Evacuation Order.
- Wait for an Evacuation Order to be issued before evacuating.
When an Evacuation Order is issued, you must leave the area immediately. Follow the directions of local emergency officials and evacuate using the route(s) they’ve identified. Do not return home until you’ve been advised that the Evacuation Order has been rescinded.
- Residents registered with Voyent Alert! will receive a critical alert notifying them that their affected location has been put on Evacuation Order, advising them to leave the area, and providing directions on how and where to go.
- If your primary residence has been evacuated please arrange to stay with friends or family if at all possible.
- Only register with Emergency Support Services (ESS) if you require support. You can register online at ess.gov.bc.ca. If you require assistance with self-registration you can ask for help by calling the Emergency Support Services Info Line: 1-800-585-9559.
- If you can stay with friends or family, you can still access Emergency Support Services for meals and other necessities by reporting to the ESS reception Centre.
- If you cannot stay with friends or family and you need ESS services, please report to your assigned Reception Centre as advised by your local authority in your Evacuation Order.
- Tip: After you register, you may receive calls from unlisted numbers regarding your evacuee registration. Make sure your voicemail box is not full so ESS volunteers can leave a message.
- NOTE: Emergency Support Services will only be provided if your primary residence is one of the properties under evacuation order.
If the situation improves and the EOC deems it is safe for residents to return home, an Evacuation Order may be downgraded to an Evacuation Alert or an Evacuation Alert or Order may be rescinded altogether.
Should conditions change, an Evacuation Alert and/or Evacuation Order could be reinstated or issued as the City’s Emergency Operations Centre deems necessary, based on the advice and recommendations of experts in the field.
Declaring a state of local emergency enables the City of Kamloops to exercise the emergency powers listed in the Emergency Program Act. The emergency powers are utilized by the City to order the evacuation of residents from their homes, prohibit travel and enter private property when an emergency threatens lives, property, or the environment within the City’s jurisdiction. These powers allow the City to:
- Acquire or use any land or personal property considered necessary to prevent, respond to, or alleviate the effects of an emergency or disaster.
- Authorize or require any person to render assistance of a type that the person is qualified to provide or that otherwise is or may be required to prevent, respond to, or alleviate the effects of an emergency or disaster.
- Control or prohibit travel to or from any area designated in the declaration within the local authority's jurisdiction.
- Provide for the restoration of essential facilities and the distribution of essential supplies and provide, maintain, and coordinate emergency medical, welfare, and other essential services in any part of the local authority's jurisdiction.
- Cause the evacuation of persons and the removal of livestock, animals, and personal property from any area designated in the declaration within the local authority's jurisdiction that is or may be affected by an emergency or a disaster and make arrangements for the adequate care and protection of those persons, livestock, animals, and personal property.
- Authorize the entry into any building or on any land, without warrant, by any person in the course of implementing an emergency plan or program or if otherwise considered by the local authority to be necessary to prevent, respond to, or alleviate the effects of an emergency or disaster.
- Demolition or removal is considered by the local authority to be necessary or appropriate in order to prevent, respond to, or alleviate the effects of an emergency or disaster.
- Construct works considered by the local authority to be necessary or appropriate to prevent, respond to or alleviate the effects of an emergency or disaster.
- Procure, fix prices for, or ration food, clothing, fuel, equipment, medical supplies, or other essential supplies and the use of any property, services, resources, or equipment within any area designated in the declaration within the local authority's jurisdiction for the duration of the state of local emergency.
If needed, the SOLE is ordered by the City of Kamloops pursuant to Section 12 (1) of the Emergency Program Act (RS, 1996, Chap 111) and remains in force for seven days unless cancelled or extended by order of the City of Kamloops or the Solicitor General.
In some circumstances—like where evacuees would have to travel through a plume of hazardous gases—it may be safer for people to take shelter in their homes, schools, or places of work.
If you are advised to shelter in place, please follow these instructions:
- Get inside as quickly as possible.
- Turn off all heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. Close vents.
- Close all doors, windows, fireplace flues, vents, and other openings. If there are any gaps in the weather stripping, use duct tape, plastic wrap, and/or aluminum foil to seal the leaks.
- Close drapes, curtains, and shades. Stay away from external windows.
- Use stairwells instead of elevators wherever possible.
- Stay tuned to accurate sources of information, either online or via local media. You will be advised what the hazardous material is and what the signs and symptoms of overexposure are.
If you are forced to leave your home it's important to remember to take your pet(s) with you. Leaving pets behind, even if you try to make a safe place for them, is not the best option. Unfortunately most emergency shelters can't accept pets, except for service animals such as dogs for the visually impaired, so you must plan ahead.
- Start with relatives or friends outside your area, boarding kennels and vet clinics who could shelter your animals during an emergency. Some motels and campgrounds allow pets too.
- Once you have compiled a list remember to put a copy in your "Grab and Go" bag. While you're at it include pet supplies (leash, portable kennel, food, and water).
- If you have advance warning of a possible disaster or severe storm, keep your pets inside with you so you won't have to look for them if you are forced to leave your home.
- Make sure your pets are wearing collars and identification tags.