Community Evacuation Information for Seniors

HealthLinkBC File Number: 
Last Updated: 
May 2017

Preparing for and responding to hazards such as wildfires, floods, landslides, earthquakes, and severe weather 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 are ordered by police or RCMP to evacuate your home or community, leave the area immediately. You are at risk.

Emergency authorities will provide information about transportation routes and accommodation.

Do not return home until emergency authorities say it is safe to do so.

How can I prepare to evacuate in an emergency?

Create a trusted support network of at least 3 people to assist you during an emergency. Give them keys and add their contact information to a shared emergency plan.

The support network should be advised of any health conditions or medications, and shown how to operate specialized medical mobility equipment, such as lifts, wheelchairs, or scooters.

Make arrangements for your support network to immediately check on you after a disaster.

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, make sure it is easily accessible, and as portable (easy to move) as possible.

Basic items for an emergency and survival for 72 hours:

  • Water – 4 litres per person per day for at least 3 days, for drinking
  • Food – At least a 3-day supply of nonperishable food and a manual can opener for cans
  • First aid kit
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
  • Local maps and some cash in small bills
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air
  • Seasonal clothing and footwear
  • Garbage bags, moist towelettes and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Special items such as prescription medications, dietary needs, equipment for people with disabilities, and other items required for health conditions you may have
  • Battery-powered or hand crank flashlight with extra batteries
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and extra batteries
  • Whistle, to signal for help
  • 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 small bag with extra keys for your car and house
  • 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
  • Safety gloves
  • Basic tools, such as hammer, pliers, wrench, screwdrivers, fasteners, work gloves
  • 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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