Community Evacuation Information for Seniors

HealthLinkBC File Number: 
Last Updated: 
June 2014

Preparing for, planning and managing in disasters such as forest fires, floods, slides, earthquakes, and storms requires special consideration of seniors' needs.

Seniors who live alone, or are sick or disabled will need special support and an emergency plan.

What will happen if I have to evacuate my home in an emergency?

If you have to leave your home or your community, local emergency authorities will contact you:

  • by phone,
  • in person, or
  • by radio announcement.

If evacuation is expected, emergency authorities will provide information about transportation and accommodation.

When an evacuation order is given, follow instructions from emergency response workers.

How can I prepare to evacuate in an emergency?

Create a network of friends and stay involved in your community. If you live alone, make sure that you know your neighbours. If you need help with daily activities, you may wish to create an emergency plan which includes a list of people to contact. Think about how you will manage without some or all of the help you currently receive from family, friends or neighbours.

What supplies should I have for an emergency?

Planning ahead and thinking about your personal needs in case of an emergency is important. Think about what you will need and make sure it is easily accessible.

Basic items for an emergency and survival for 72 hours:

  • Water – at least 4 litres of water per person per day for drinking, cooking and cleaning. Include small bottles that can be carried easily in case of an evacuation order.
  • Food – items that will not spoil such as canned food, energy bars, and dried foods. Remember to replace the food and water once a year.
  • First aid kit.
  • Special items such as prescription medications, dietary needs, equipment for people with disabilities, and other items required for health conditions you may have.
  • A small bag with extra keys for your car and house, clothing, some cash in smaller bills, such as $10 bills and change for payphones.
  • Flashlight and batteries, plus candles and matches or a lighter. Remember to place candles in sturdy containers and to put them out before going to sleep.
  • Battery-powered or wind-up radio and extra batteries.
  • Manual can opener.
  • A copy of your emergency plan, and a contact list with important names and numbers of family members, friends, health care providers, and caregivers.

Additional supplies for an emergency:

  • A change of clothing and footwear for each household member.
  • A sleeping bag or warm (foil) blanket for each household member.
  • Toilet paper and other personal care supplies.
  • Garbage bags for personal sanitation.
  • A whistle, in case you need to attract attention.
  • Safety gloves.
  • Basic tools, such as hammer, pliers, wrench, screwdrivers, fasteners, work gloves.
  • A cell phone.
  • Small fuel-driven stove and fuel. Follow manufacturer's directions and store it properly.

As part of your emergency plan, you may need some of the following items which can be put in a travel bag so they are ready to go:

  • Personal papers and photo identification.
  • A medical history or summary of your health including any chronic conditions and recent surgery.
  • List of your medications and copies of prescriptions.
  • Extra medications and vitamin supplements.
  • Prescription eyewear and footwear.
  • Extra dentures and cleaner.
  • Hearing aids and extra batteries.
  • Mobility aids such as canes, walkers, and raised toilet seat. Consider whether you can take or use them during an emergency.
  • Special equipment for breathing.
  • Incontinence supplies.

Provide your family and friends with a contact list of friends, neighbours, agencies, health care providers, and caregivers.

For More Information

For more information on emergency preparedness, visit:

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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