What is the Difference between Evacuation Alert and Evacuation Order?

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN  EVACUATION ALERT & EVACUATION ORDER?

An Evacuation ALERT notifies District residents of the potential for a threat to escalate and create unsafe conditions.  It is prudent during an ALERT for residents to prepare to leave the District on very short notice. There is no need to leave an area under Evacuation Alert, but voluntary evacuation may be a good idea for those with health issues or transportation difficulties.   

An Evacuation ORDER notifies residents of the potential danger to life and health and homes.  All residents must leave the area immediately and will be told where to travel and which route to take. 

HOW DOES AN EVACUATION ORDER HAPPEN?

Evacuation alerts and orders are issued only when necessary and we fully understand that this may result in stress, inconvenience, and extra expense for homeowners and businesses.  The decision to evacuate a community is not made lightly.  It is triggered by an emergency event and is not pre-scheduled for a certain date or time. 

In a wildfire event, it is important for everyone to act as quickly as possible to ensure the safety of residents.  Before ordering an evacuation, there are several steps that must first be completed.

  1. The Wildfire Incident Commander provides a recommendation to the District of 100 Mile House Emergency Operations Centre to order an evacuation.  What factors are considered?  Safety of the public and their crews is the number one priority for the BC Wildfire Service, along with current and forecasted fire behaviour, weather, what direction the wildfire may go, and the safety risk of the wildfire.  Safe exit routes are also considered.
  2. Mayor and Council must then declare a local state of emergency, which can be done in various ways, but usually by Council resolution.
  3. Once the evacuation has been ordered, the Evacuation Order is then communicated to residents by any of the following means:
    1. Radio bulletins
    2. Telephone
    3. RCMP (if safe to do so)
    4. Door to door Emergency Program personnel (if safe to do so)
    5. Volunteer Fire Fighters or Search and Rescue volunteers as provided by the Provincial Emergency Program
    6. Emergency Notification System for users who have previously signed up
    7. Posting on the District website and Facebook pages 
  4. These steps are triggered very quickly because should an evacuation be necessary, time will be of the essence.
  5. Once the evacuation has been ordered, area residents must comply with the order, which will be enforced by the RCMP.  They must immediately:
    1. Gather up family, pets and personal family emergency kit;
    2. Ensure any personal or medical necessities are packed, as travel will be one-way until the evacuation order is lifted;
    3. Proceed quickly and calmly to the muster point noted in the Evacuation Plan or via the evacuation route identified by the RCMP and the media.

You should also know that there is a tremendous amount of planning that goes into the evacuation process.   A number of entities, including BC Wildfire, the District EOC team, CRD, Fire-Rescue, RCMP, ESS, Transportation, BC Ambulance, Interior Health, Search and Rescue, and several other agencies all work together in planning to keep people and property safe.    Rest assured we plan and plan again for many different variables that affect our community in order to get out in front of an emergency.   This all happens in the background to ensure your safety.  

REMINDER: There is a lot of misinformation floating around – especially on social media.  Please don’t be drawn to believe rumours.  Check the following sources for accurate and reliable information:

District of 100 Mile House – https://100milehouse.com [or on our Facebook page]

Cariboo Regional District – https://www.cariboord.ca or call 1-866-759-4977

BC Wildfire Service - https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status

Drive BC - https://www.drivebc.ca/

Last updated Jul 23, 2021