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Workplace Evacuation

Green exit signs in hallway

Some emergencies may make staying put dangerous. In such cases, it may be safer for you to evacuate the immediate area and go to family or friends or an emergency reception centre. The authority to order an evacuation can rest with different levels of government (local, provincial or federal). A standard three-stage evacuation process has been adopted by all levels of government and is described below.

Evacuation Alerts or Orders

Various methods will be used to advise residents and businesses in the event that emergency messaging is needed, including an “evacuation alert” or an “evacuation order.” Tools include going door-to-door (if applicable), in a patrol car or fire vehicle using the PA system, alerting the media (radio, TV, internet), and social media (Twitter, Facebook and website). Every emergency is different and people may be asked to evacuate to a specific location or shelter-in-place.

Get Ready (BEFORE the evacuation)

Get prepared for the possibility of having to evacuate:

  • Prepare business and employee Grab and Go bags
  • Develop and share an evacuation plan, including all the exits from your building, emergency shut off procedures, etc. and designated assembly areas
  • Designate an individual to coordinate your business' evacuation process

Stage 1 - Evacuation Alert

Individuals are advised of the potential need to get ready for evacuation. The alert highlights the nature of the danger and that evacuation may be required at any time. Information will be provided on where to go if the evacuation is ordered. Whenever possible, emergency officials will provide as much notice as possible so people have time to get ready.

Go (DURING the evacuation)

Stage 2 - Evacuation Order

All persons in the affected area are ordered to leave the area immediately and provided again with the information required. In some instances there will not be time to alert the impacted individuals to get ready in advance and for safety an evacuation order will be immediately made. Listen carefully to the instructions being provided and act quickly. Emergency officials may provide you with a specific evacuation route.

  • Move quickly and calmly and follow instructions provided by emergency officials.
  • Carry out emergency shut off procedures for utilities, equipment, etc. if necessary.
  • Take your business and individual Grab and Go bags (employees should remember to bring along any medication they require).
  • Assist those with mobility issues or disabilities to evacuate as needed.
  • Close and lock your windows and doors.
  • Evacuation coordinator should account for personnel and visitors aft er evacuating and take note of any missing individuals.
  • Employees should send a message to their out-of-area contacts.

Return (AFTER the evacuation)

Stage 3 - Evacuation Rescind

All persons in the affected area are advised that the emergency is under control and the area has been declared habitable and safe and the evacuation order has been rescinded.

Listen carefully to emergency officials; they will advise you when it is safe to return and if there is anything you need to do to ensure it is safe to re-enter your place of work.