Prepare to evacuate

Learn what to do in case you need to evacuate due to an emergency.


As the wildfire situation in Alberta continues to evolve, residents in communities that may be impacted should be prepared in case they need to evacuate from their homes.

Be prepared in case an evacuation order is called for your community. Bring your pets and pack medications, necessities and clothes to last a week or more.

Alerts and orders

Evacuation alert (advisory): People should prepare to evacuate soon, if situation deteriorates.

  • Evacuation alerts help you prepare to leave on short notice.
  • Take the actions directed, be prepared to go quickly and monitor trusted sources of information for updates.

Evacuation order (critical): People must evacuate now.

  • Evacuation orders are issued when you are in danger.
  • Emergency situations can change rapidly and prompt an immediate evacuation order.
  • Evacuate immediately if you are located inside an order's boundaries and directed to evacuate.
  • Delaying your departure can put your life at risk and hinder emergency response efforts.
  • Follow the specific instructions provided by your local authorities during an evacuation.
  • Always prioritize your safety and the safety of those around you.

Before an evacuation

Preparing in advance can keep you safe and comfortable, and help you get back to your normal life and work more quickly.

  • Stay informed

    • Pay attention to emergency alerts and local news updates.
    • Follow social media accounts of relevant authorities for real-time information and download the Alberta Emergency Alert app and Alberta 511.
  • Create an emergency plan

    • Develop a detailed emergency plan for yourself and your family that everyone understands.
      • Identify escape routes, meeting points and important contact numbers.
      • Talk about what you would do, where you would go and how you would stay in touch if you are not together or home when an order is issued.
  • Strengthen your social network

    • Creating a buddy system can help if you cannot return home for essential items and pets.
    • Create a group text message, group chat on social media, or shared email list so you can stay connected and ask for help or offer help when people need it most.
  • Pack an emergency kit

    • Prepare an emergency kit that could last a week or more with essential items such as:
      • medications
      • identification documents
      • a first aid kit
      • flashlights
      • batteries
      • non-perishable food
      • water
      • clothing
      • cash
      • important comfort and personal items
    • Keep the kit in an easily accessible location.
    • Create a packing list to help you act quickly in a stressful situation.
  • Have a plan for your pets

    • Have an emergency pet plan to reduce stress for you and your pet. Consider:
      • how you will gather and transport your pets
      • where you will go and what you bring
      • what your pet’s stressors are and how can you calm them
      • if your pet is friendly with people and animals
      • if your pet has food and medications that require refrigeration
    • Create an emergency pet-friendly contact list that includes hotels, kennels, shelters, friends and family in and outside of your community.
    • Access for pets varies across the province, not all reception centres accept animals.
    • Learn more about pet preparedness.
  • Prepare financially

    • Know your insurance policy. Make sure your home, vehicle, business and belongings are protected.
    • Take pictures or video of your property and belongings for insurance purposes.
    • Keep cash on hand as ATM or debit machines may be unavailable.
  • Plan for transportation

    • Regularly top up vehicle fuel or battery charge. Maintain more than half a tank of fuel and keep electric vehicles at least half-charged at all times.
    • If you do not have a vehicle, plan with friends, or contact your local emergency management office for support.
  • MyAlberta Emergency Registration System (MAERS)

    Create and verify your free account before an emergency so you can quickly access information on support and services during times of uncertainty.

    Once you have a verified account, you can create an online MAERS profile for your household, including your pets. The information in your MAERS profile helps local emergency social services prepare to meet the needs of their community members during an emergency or disaster. 

    This system streamlines the registration process for individuals, especially if no additional needs are identified. Albertans can register from any location using their cell phone, computer or tablet.

During an evacuation​

If your community is at risk, local authorities will issue communications. They could include information about the threat, the safest evacuation route including where to go to register and receive support and services.

  • Notify others

    • Inform friends, neighbours or family members who may not be aware of the evacuation order.
    • Check on elderly or vulnerable neighbours who might need assistance.
  • Secure your home

    • Before leaving:
      • clean out perishables from your fridge
      • close all windows and doors
      • turn off utilities if instructed to do so
      • unplug electrical appliances to reduce the risk of fires caused by power surges
      • lock up your house
  • Follow designated routes

    • Stick to the evacuation routes specified by the authorities. Avoid shortcuts or unfamiliar roads that may pose additional dangers.
  • Stay calm and drive safely

    • Stay calm, drive at safe speeds and follow the instructions of law enforcement personnel.
    • Turn on your headlights if visibility is an issue.
    • Keep a safe distance from other vehicles.
  • Stay updated

    • Listen to local radio stations for updates during your evacuation.
    • Be aware of changing conditions and any potential road closures or alternative routes.
  • Seek shelter

    • If you can't evacuate to a safe location, find a designated shelter or an open space away from the hazard.
    • Follow the instructions of emergency personnel and use masks or wet towels to protect yourself from smoke or airborne particles.

Communicating during emergencies

It is possible that you and your loved ones may not be together when an emergency occurs. Normal communication channels may not be available during large disruptions.

To increase your chances of staying connected when an emergency occurs, follow these tips.

  • Create emergency contact cards for each member of your household.
  • Keep emergency numbers in your home (hard copy) and on your personal and work cellphones.
  • Create a group text message, a group chat on your preferred social media channel, or a shared email distribution list so you can stay connected.
  • Have a plan for back-up power for your devices, such as extra batteries, phone charger for your vehicle or solar powered battery pack with a usb connection.
  • Designate an out-of-town emergency contact who can act as a central check point to provide updates on status and location in case you are unable to reach each other.
  • Use social media to connect or update your status – some sites offer a “checked safe” feature when a disaster occurs in their area.

Evacuation preparedness telephone town hall

Albertans were invited to join a telephone town hall on evacuation preparedness on May 13.

Listen to the recording below to learn more about how to prepare in case you need to evacuate from your home.

Your Alberta · Wildfire Readiness Information Telephone Town Hall - May 13, 2023

Resources and translations

Education material you can read, print and download to share online and within your community. Translated versions are also available in українською (Ukrainian), عربي (Arabic), 简体中文 (Simplified Chinese), 繁體中文 (Traditional Chinese), ਪੰਜਾਬੀ (Punjabi), Deutsch (High German), Plautdietsch (Low German), Español (Spanish), Français (French) and Tagalog (Tagalog).