Emergency Management begins with YOU. Our first goal in emergency management is Emergency Preparedness (E-Prep). E-Prep promotes individual preparedness and encourages us to learn about the risks we may face in our communities and the actions we can take to prevent, mitigate and prepare for these risks. Being prepared is a challenge for us all, it may seem like a daunting task, but it can be done in six (6) simple steps. Following these steps will make preparedness a habit which will "Build Resilience" over time and allow you to be ready for anything.
To "Building Resilience" you can start with these four (4) links to get you thinking about risks, emergency tips and E-Prep:
AEMA Get Prepared: 60 second emergency tips videos
Canadian Government: With a little preparation, you can be ready for anything
- The Alberta Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) "Get Prepared" videos that educate you about the possible risks that are around us daily and some tips to overcome them.
- The Canadian Government's home page link for emergency preparedness "with a little preparation, you can be ready for anything".
- Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) "Are you ready?" kit that has been adapted to our area by FCSS and the Town of Claresholm.
- The AEMA link to emergency preparedness week "E-Prep Tool Kit"
DownloadAre you ready?
What you will find below is:
- A quick introduction to emergency preparedness that is broken down into the six (6) steps complete with links and additional resources to help you or your family better prepare for a possible emergency or disaster event.
- A brief explanation about our Municipal Emergency Plan (MEP).
- An explanation about the towns Evacuation Plan complete with a links and additional information.
Step 1: Start a Conversation
Talk to your friends, family and neighbours about what you can do to manage emergencies, disasters and unexpected inconveniences before they occur. Talking gets everyone in your household on the same page and helps identify different needs. Preparedness is different for everyone. Start a conversation to get started.
- Create family, home and work place resilience – start with small conversations about what fears, concerns or questions your family, co-workers or significant other may have with emergencies or disasters. Start with identifying what risks are a real concern for you.
- Create community resilience – neighbours are often first to lend a hand and provide support during an emergency or when an unexpected situation occurs. Build strength in your community by getting to know one another.
- Raise awareness and connection in your community – service groups, church groups and non-profit organizations play a key role in aiding one another and supporting members of their group and their community at large. Hosting E-Prep events within your organization builds a pocket of support, then connecting with other organizations combines those pockets to form a overall community network.
Step 2: Get Informed
Information helps us to better prepare for emergencies, disasters and life’s inconveniences. When we know what is happening we can make more informed and timely decisions during times of stress.
- Download the Alberta Emergency Alert (AEA) app – Alberta issues alerts to provide critical information and what action you need to take to stay safe. Apps like AEA, Wildfire, and Wethercan can help keep you safe.
- Sign up for local, provincial and federal alerts through your mobile phone.
- The Town of Claresholm utilizes Connect by Allnet as our own alert and messaging system to compliment the Alberta Emergency Alert (AEA) system.
- You can sign up for basic local alerts through this system with the link on our home page. Connect by All Net
- Only use trusted information sources such as your community's social media pages, official websites and television/radio (If possible, keep a battery-powered or crank radio on hand in case of a power outage)
- Directions from authorities can vary based on the emergency and can change quickly, knowing what is happening in your community could save your life.
Step 3: Know the Risks in Our Community
If you know what the hazards are in your community, you know what to prepare for. There is also a difference between an Emergency and a Disaster.
- We want people to plan for both realizing that a disaster will be a bigger event that will impact every day life for more people and will disrupt essential functions/services.
- Emergencies happen daily and are a situation that requires speedy response to save lives. (fire/ambulance/RCMP)
- An emergency event can lead to a disaster.
- The two primary disasters that could impact us are extreme weather and a wildfire.
Wildfire season officially starts March 1 and runs until October 31 annually. Wildfires can affect communities in forested or grassland areas; including urban green spaces like ravines and parks. If a fire is near, protect yourself and loved ones by following directions from authorities, and be prepared to evacuate.
Find more information at:
Thunderstorms, heavy rain, hail, high winds, blowing snow, blizzards, and ice storms can develop quickly and threaten life and property. Severe storms occur frequently across Alberta and can be unpredictable.
- If you have a vehicle, keep the tank full in case fuel stations lose power or close down.
- Keep a vehicle kit and include an extra phone charger, with necessary adapters.
- If you are in a vehicle, park away from trees or power lines that might fall on you.
- If you are indoors, close your windows, blinds, and curtains.
Find more information at:
Step 4: Make A Plan
Making a plan about what you would do and where you would go is critical. Practicing the plan with family and loved ones is also important so those in your circle of contact know what to do when the need arises. Consider having a plan for your home but also for you and your co-workers when you are at work.
- Firstly – We want people to plan how to get everyone out of their house with the basic needs.
- Secondly - Once out, Know Where To Go.
- Listen for evacuation routes and/or reception centre locations.
- Utilize Alberta Emergency Alert to stay informed.
Find more information at:
Step 5: Build A Kit
Build a kit so you have supplies available to take care of your needs for at least 72 hours. Consider pre-organizing the following by having items easily accessible or extra items pre-packed:
a. If you have Special Needs – dentures, hearing aid, medications, walker etc.
b. Basic Survival Items – clothes, food, water, family supplies such as baby supplies(i.e. diapers/baby food supplies), a toy for each child, medications and important documents.
c. Pets – kennel, leash, food, water dish
d. Important Documents - passport, personal identification, important phone numbers, cash in small denominations and insurance information.
Find more information at:
Step 6: Share
Talk to your friends and family about your plan. For example, if you evacuate, they will know what your plan is and you will know what theirs is, this builds a social network of support. For evacuating your home having a muster point/collection point is good planning in case family members get separated.
- Make sure you know how to get a hold of people if your cell phone dies (important numbers written down).
- Please notify the town of your location because it is our municipal responsibility to ensure your safe and accounted for, this means you must register with the town by calling the registration number in the event of an evacuation.
Evacuation Registration Number: 403-625-3381
Evacuation Alerts And Orders
Some emergencies lead authorities to issue an evacuation alert or an evacuation order. Evacuation alerts warn the public of a potential or current threat. An evacuation alert can lead to an evacuation order
If an alert is issued, you should prepare to evacuate.
Evacuation orders are used when the public must leave the area for their own safety.
• Save your safe meeting location(s) on your phone's mapping application.
• Conserve your battery by going into power saving mode, reducing the screen's brightness and closing apps when not in use.
• To reduce network congestion immediately after an emergency, avoid using your mobile device to stream videos, download entertainment or play video games.
• If social media channels have activated their “marked safe” feature, use this as another way to let your family and friends know that you are safe.
• Ensure your family emergency plan includes a communications plan. Designate someone out of the area as a central contact, and make certain all family members know who to contact if they become separated.
Municipal Emergency Plan (MEP)
E-Prep for a municipality is called a Municipal Emergency Plan (MEP). Claresholm’s MEP outlines all the contacts and steps required to respond to an emergency. A MEP is the blueprint for a municipality to establish the who, what, when, where and how to, to respond to an emergency event. We have worked with the Alberta Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) to have a trained emergency management team in incident command processes. We have plan's in place for two pre-organized response centres, the Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) and the Emergency Reception Centre (ERC). In the event of an emergency the first responders (fire and/or police) will notify the Director of Emergency Management or a Deputy Director with the need to establish an ECC and/or an ERC. In an emergency these two centres will establish the key functions required to respond, shelter and protect our community. The key to any plan is sharing it with those that it will impact. Our goal is to make sure the public understands how the six (6) steps outlined above, builds a community that is prepared. This preparedness allows us to be capable of responding efficiently. This is called building resilience. The more resilience we have as a community the better our response and ultimately recovery will be.
In the event of an emergency, the town may evacuate the community either partially or completely. The decision to evacuate will be based on an assessment of the threat to life and the impact (or anticipated impact) of an event. Evacuation isn't always the best course of action. A "shelter in place" order may be issued to keep residents safe in their homes and/or businesses.
Key Points of Evacuation:
- Residents will be asked to post on the front window or door of their property an “I Have Evacuated” notice.I Have Evacuated Notice
- If residents cannot evacuate their house, they must call 911.
- Residents that have evacuated are asked to register with the Town Office as soon as they have evacuated because the Town wants to:
- Make sure residents have evacuated,
- Account for the resident’s location,
- Account for resident’s safety and wellbeing,
- Be able to direct inquiries about the resident’s location and status.
Stages of Evacuation
There are three (3) stages that the emergency management team will work through in an evacuation event. Ideally a heightened state of readiness occurs first, which is where the Town identifies and monitors an event that may have the potential to impact Town residents. Examples of events that would activate a heightened state of readiness are weather forecasts, communication from emergency services, RCMP and/or the AEMA notifying us of conditions favorable for a potential evacuation event. Often a state of heightened readiness passes without incident. A heightened state of readiness can also permit time for residents to voluntarily evacuate in advance. This advance evacuation provides a buffer which has less strain on a municipality’s emergency management resources.
As soon as conditions show potential for impact upon the community, the Town will initiate Stage 1 = an Evacuation Alert.
Stage 1 Evacuation Alert
The purpose of the Evacuation Alert is to inform the residents of a potential or current threat exists which could lead to an Evacuation Order. An Evacuation Alert allows for the residents to begin preparations to evacuate by providing them with time to gather the following items (a pre-packed E-Prep kit will already have the majority of these items in it):
- Fuel vehicles,
- Gathering belongings and documents,
- Gather a E-Prep kit,
- Gather medications or medical aids such as dentures,
- Gather pet supplies,
- Gather information regarding the evacuation from the Evacuation Alert,
- Gather documents, clothing, food, water, personal hygiene supplies etc.
Evacuation Alerts inform residents to the conditions that the Emergency Management Team is monitoring. Often the broadcasting of this information leads to voluntary evacuations. With voluntary evacuations, residents must notify the town they are evacuating, which is referred to as registering. Residents voluntarily evacuating should initiate their personal evacuation plan and remove themselves from the evacuation zone to a safe location. For localized evacuations, this may be to another location within Town, but for a community wide evacuation, this may be to a neighboring community.
Stage 2 Evacuation Order
Depending on the mechanism and speed of the hazard, an Evacuation Order may be issued without a prior Evacuation Alert. An Evacuation Order is issued when the impacted residents should leave the specified area immediately. An Evacuation Order will provide the same information as the Evacuation Alert but should include the fact that this is mandatory and immediate.
After an evacuation order has been issued plans will be put in place to conduct a sweep of the evacuation area to ensure that all those at risk are aware of the need to evacuate. Any person who refuses to leave when an Evacuation Order is issued, will not be forcibly removed from their residence, however, all public services are suspended during an Evacuation Order and those choosing not to leave may not be rescued or provided with other emergency response services.
Stage 3 Evacuation Rescind
The decision to rescind an Evacuation Order should occur when the Emergency Management team, in consultation with the Emergency Management Agency, determines that it is safe to return. As a municipality we understand evacuees desire to return to their homes as soon as possible. However, the community needs to understand that the delay to return is done, to ensure the evacuated area is declared safe and can adequately support the returning population.
In order to ensure an orderly, time effective evacuation, the Town of Claresholm has been divided into six (6) evacuation zones. These zones have been identified geographically and have been numbered for identification purposes. Some aspects of the zones that you will want to familiarize yourself with are where your home, work, daycare, schools and/or seniors homes are located. It is also important to identify zone locations of individuals you might be helping to evacuate. Review the maps below and identify which evacuation zones are relevant to your personal evacuation plan.
- Zone numbers DO NOT indicate priority.
- Zones will be evacuated by highest assessed risk.
- West Side = Mountain View Crescent West – to – 43rd Avenue West
- West Side = 43rd Avenue West – to – 51st Avenue West
- West Side = 51st Avenue West – to – 59th Avenue West
- West Side = 59th Avenue West – to – 85th Avenue West
- East Side = 39th Avenue East – to – 59th Avenue East
- Down Town Core = 52nd Avenue West + East – to – 48th Avenue West + East
DownloadClaresholm Evacuation Zones
DownloadEvacuation Information Package
Emergency Management encompasses a multitude of aspects that takes team work and collaboration. The community plays a large role in that team work and collaboration. The more we are prepared as a community in advance, with E-Prep, response plans, training and drills the more we build confidence in ourselves and as a network for our community. This builds a community prepared, resilient and responsive verses reactive in the event of an emergency.