Making yourself aware and being prepared for evacuations can be overwhelming. Fire fighters and other emergency personnel cannot work on the fire or other problems until life and safety issues are under control - that means you. Resisting evacuation consumes the rescuers precious time. Once you receive the information of an evacuation alert you should be prepared to leave on short notice and if you receive an evacuation order, evacuate immediately. Delay can result in roadways being blocked by smoke, other materials or rescue equipment. Listen to emergency broadcasts, pay attention to Voyent Alert notifications and follow the directions of emergency personnel.

Evacuation Plans

Electoral Area E and District of Lantzville Evacuation Route Plan 

Electoral Area B Evacuation Route Plan 

Emergency Livestock Evacuation Plan

Evacuation Route Guide RDN EA F and Spider Lake/Horne Lake Area H

Projects Underway


Evacuation Stages

If you hear from a media information release, or a friend or neighbour, that an evacuation is anticipated, be sure to note whether it is an alert or an order. How you respond is different for each stage and important to remember. Following these guidelines helps emergency responders to help you more quickly and safely.

Evacuations can have three different stages. 

Stage 1 - Evacuation Alert

Be ready to leave on short notice. An evacuation alert advises the population at risk of the impending danger. At this point, the movement of vulnerable populations, transient population, including vacationers and in some cases, school population and any voluntary evacuees should become a priority.

Possible methods of warning the most vulnerable populations may include emergency notification systems; door knocking; media broadcasts; mobile public address (RCMP); telephone calls and electronic media.

The alert should identify hazard/emergency zone(s) and travel route(s), identify reception center locations and advise the method of declaring an "All Clear" and procedure for issue of controlled re-entry passes.

If an Evacuation Alert has been issued:

  • Gather essential items such as medications, eyeglasses, valuable papers, immediate care needs for dependents and valuable keepsakes. Include a couple of blankets and pillows. Be practical about what to take with you. Make the items available for immediate access for a quick departure (don't forget about items for your pets).
  • Keep track of the location of all family members and determine a planned meeting place should an evacuation be called while separated (have a plan).
  • Immediately relocate large pets and livestock to an area outside of the evacuation alert.
  • Arrange accommodation for your family in the event of an evacuation. Emergency Support Services will be available to provide reception centres and potentially emergency relief for periods of up to 72 hours. Locations of activated reception centres will be provided by the RDN.
  • Water vegetation adjacent to structures if water supplies and time permits.



Stage 2 - Evacuation Order

Leave the area now!

The evacuation order should include:

The order should identify the time the evacuation order is in effect, the applicable zone(s) for which it applies, assigned travel route(s), reception center locations and advise the method of declaring an "All Clear" and procedure for issue of controlled re-entry passes.

All persons in the affected area are to be told that, in the interest of their own safety and considering the risk, they are now ordered to leave the area. There is no discretion allowed in the evacuation order, which clearly indicates immediate evacuation and relocation. An evacuation order will most often be enforced by the RCMP, and potentially delivered door to door by emergency personnel (like Search and Rescue or RCMP), and will be sent out through Voyent Alert emergency notification system.

If an Evacuation Order has been issued:

  • Remain calm and pay attention to what the notification is telling you.
  • You MUST LEAVE THE AREA IMMEDIATELY. It is critical that you report to the Reception Centre indicated or follow instructions provided by the RDN. This will allow for effective communications for the evacuation team, Emergency Operations Centre and other responders.
  • Reporting to the reception centre or following instructions provided, facilitates contact by concerned friends or relatives and in matching separated family members.
  • If you need transportation to evacuate, advise the individual providing the notice of evacuation.
  • Close all doors and windows in your home. Leave gates unlocked and clear driveways for emergency responder access.
  • Keep a flashlight and portable radio with you at all times.
  • Follow the directions of emergency personnel and obey traffic control. Travel will be one-way only out of your area to allow emergency vehicles access. Re-admission is not permitted until the evacuation order is lifted.
Stage 3 - Rescind

When the emergency that caused the evacuation is under control and the hazard/emergency zone is declared safe (habitable), a retraction of the evacuation order should be implemented. This is to be done using the same procedure as for an alert.

This procedure should advise the affected population that the danger may reoccur and that an alert may be reinstated, at which time the process recommences from Stage 1.

As information is received from the operational front lines and examined for specific actions, the public will be kept notified of developments, level of evacuation awareness, location of reception centers and other important information.


Other Information 

Who Can Authorize an Evacuation 

Whether you need to leave your home due to a quickly approaching fire, or because of rising flood waters, or other emergency reasons, you should be aware of Evacuation Alerts and Orders, what they mean and how to prepare yourself and your family. Depending on the nature of the emergency, B.C. has several legal Acts which authorize evacuations:

  • B.C. permits the head of a local authority (i.e. Board Chair of the RDN) to declare a State of Local Emergency which then allows the RDN to order an evacuation should it be absolutely necessary.
  • An Incident Commander at the scene of an emergency may implement evacuation on an 'ad hoc' basis for people at risk from unique emergency situations that occur with little or no warning and require immediate evacuation for life safety. Support from the local authority Emergency Operations Centre will take place from that point on.
  • An evacuation can also be ordered by the Minister responsible for the Emergency Disaster Management Act if a provincial State of Emergency is declared.
  • The order to evacuate can be given by the B.C. Fire Commissioner under the Fire Services Act and Forest Act.
  • Ministry responsible for Health - the minister or local health board - Health Act - Chapter 161, Sec. 60/62.
  • Ministry responsible for the Environment - Minister or designate - Waste Management Act.
  • Ministry responsible for Energy Mines - Energy and Minerals Division - Mines Act Health Safety and Reclamation Code - Subject: page 3.


Emergency Services | 6300 Hammond Bay Road | Nanaimo, BC V9T 6N2 | E-mail: emergencyservices [at] rdn.bc.ca (emergencyservices[at]rdn[dot]bc[dot]ca)
Telephone: 250-390-4111 (Nanaimo) 1-877-607-4111 (Toll Free) | 250-390-2757 (Fax)