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Evacuation orders

By Kylie-Jane Degeling, training officer, Alberta Emergency Management Agency

Linda and Andrew Bolten were watching television when they received a knock at the door. Standing there was a peace officer telling them that they were evacuating the area.

“A fire had been burning a few kilometers from our home,” said Andrew, “When the wind strengthened, the firefighters were concerned for the safety of our neighbourhood.”

The Boltens were prepared and had a large plastic tub in their hallway closet with items they wanted to bring.

“We live in an area where fires are a possibility each year, so wanted to be sure we were prepared. We have photo negatives and back-up CDs in the tub, as well as copies of important documents and a week’s supply of Linda’s medication,” Andrew said.

In addition, the Boltens included in their tub a couple of changes of clothing, personal items like toothbrushes and shampoo, flashlights, a transistor radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, emergency cash, and some protein bars.

“There were still items we wish we’d had with us, but it was a relief to know our photos were safe and we had the bare necessities.”

Anyone could find themselves needing to evacuate in a hurry – whether it is a fire, gas leak, severe storm, or other emergency. Being prepared can reduce the stress you experience both during and after the event.

If your community is experiencing an emergency, listen to a radio tuned to a local radio station. Get ready for an evacuation order by gathering your emergency kit and reviewing your plan. Authorities will not ask you to leave your home unless they have reason to believe you are in danger. If you receive an evacuation order, you must leave quickly.

If you are ordered to evacuate:

• Take your emergency kit, essential medications, copies of prescriptions, personal identification of each family member, copies of essential family documentation and a cellular phone.

• Use travel routes specified by local authorities.

• If you have time, call or e-mail your out-of-town contact. Tell them where you are going and when you expect to arrive. Once you are safe, let them know.

• Tell them if any family members have become separated.

• If you have time, leave a note telling others when you left and where you are.

• Shut off water and electricity if officials tell you to.

• Leave natural gas service on unless officials tell you to turn it off. (If you turn off the gas, the gas company has to reconnect it. In a major emergency, it could take weeks for a professional to respond. You would be without gas for heating and cooking.)

• Take pets with you.

• Lock your home.

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What is Shelter in Place?
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This great information was taken with permission from the Alberta Emergency Management Agency's Emergency Preparedness Week Campaign Kit
Download the brochure in its entirety here.

8 areas of emergency preparedness Water - Vital for Life Food - Sustain Your Health Shelter - Protect Yourself From The Elements First Aid - Saves Lives
8 areas of emergency preparedness Light - Diversification is Key Heat - Maintain Your Core Temperature Communication - Stay In Touch Sanitation - Often Overlooked