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Knowledge helps us better prepare for emergencies, disasters and disruption to daily life. The first step is knowing what risks may impact you, your family or your business.

Know the Risks: Wildfires, tornados, flash flooding and other hazards can occur quickly without warning, threatening our city and restricting movement. In addition to natural disasters, other risks such as power outages, or industrial or major transportation incidents may also occur. When identifying hazards, think of ways you can reduce your individual or household risk!

Knowing what to do is an important part of being prepared, and getting yourself familiar with our local hazard profile is the first step. The Government of Alberta has a 60 Second Emergency Tip video to get you started!

Video: What are hazards and how can they affect you?

Accordion Answer
  • ​Wildfire season officially starts March 1 and runs until October 31 annually
  • If you see a wildfire, report it immediately by calling 310-FIRE. If the fire is in your community, call 9-1-1.
Wildfires are extremely dangerous. If a wildfire enters your community, the following steps can help: 
  • Report it, and get to a safe place. 
  • Never attempt to fight a fire yourself. Wildfires move rapidly and are unpredictable. 
  • Smoke from fires can be harmful. Monitor air quality through Alberta Health 
  • Children, the elderly, and those with heart and lung related health issues are at the greatest risk from smoke inhalation. 
  • If you experience any difficulty in breathing, seek medical attention immediately. 
  • Paper masks do not provide protection from smoke
Protect your property and belongings 
  • Learn FireSmart methods and share them with members of your community. 
  • Remove items that can burn from within 1.5 metres (5 feet) of your home, such as dried branches, leaves, lawn furniture, firewood and debris. 
  • Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms on every floor and near sleeping areas. 
  • Keep a sprinkler in an easy to access location. 
  • Be careful when smoking outside, extinguish fire pits and burn barrels, and obey local fire bans.
60 Second Emergency Tip:  How can you prepare for a wildfire?


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.

During a storm 

In extreme high winds, go to the basement or to a small interior room in the center of the building on the lowest floor, such as a closet, bathroom, or hallway. If this is not an option, take cover under a stairway or sturdy table and use a soft item, such as a cushion or mattress, to protect your head. 

  • Stay away from windows, doors, exterior walls and fireplaces. Avoid buildings with large, unsupported roofs like arenas, supermarkets, and barns. 
  • You may want to go to the sheltered area that you and your loved ones have chosen in your emergency plan. 
  • Stay up to date on the situation by listening to updates from local authorities. 
  • If you are on water and see bad weather approaching, head for shore immediately.
After a storm 
Severe weather can have a significant impact on people and property. The steps you take after a storm are as important as what you do before and during it. 
  • If you have been evacuated, do not return until advised that it is safe to do so. 
  • If you have experienced flooding due to rainfall and the main power switch was not turned off, do not re-enter until a qualified electrician has determined it is safe to do so. 
  • If you suspect structural damage, get a professional opinion to ensure it is safe before re-entering. 
  • Damaged buildings, such as homes and workplaces, should be restored as soon as possible to protect human health and prevent further damage. 
  • Depending on where you are, your local or provincial inspection authority may be responsible for issuing the necessary permits before certain utilities can be reconnected. 
  • Reflect on the impact of the storm and take steps to be better prepared for the next one. 


Seasonal weather, such as winds, hail, and tornadoes, can develop quickly and threaten life and property. Severe storms occur across Alberta in all seasons. It is important to know what to do to protect lives and property


In most of Alberta, a wind warning is given for winds expected to reach at least 70 km/h, or gust to at least 90 km/h. 

Wind facts 

  • Extreme, strong or gusting winds can cause injury or property damage. 
  • Winds of this speed can cause difficulty walking or loss of control while operating a vehicle. Wind survival tips If possible: 
  • Secure loose objects around your property as they can become dangerous projectiles. 
  • Shelter your livestock. 
  • Shelter-in-place until the storm has passed. Tornadoes A tornado is a violently rotating column of air extending between a thundercloud and the ground. 

Tornado facts 

  • Tornadoes can come with extreme wind speeds, in rare cases over 400 km/h. 
  • Most tornadoes develop in the late afternoon and early evening. • Tornadoes are often hard to see from far away. 
  • Not all tornadoes have a visible funnel cloud. 
  • Tornadoes usually come from the south or west, but can come from any direction and can change direction quickly. Tornado survival tips 
  • Large hailstones are often present during tornadoes. Take cover when hail begins and do not go outside. 
  • May through September is tornado and hail season in Alberta. Mid-June through early August is the peak time.
Taking shelter in extreme winds
​Safety Tips
​All cases
  • Get down, protect your head and watch out for flying debris. 
  • Do not chase tornadoes. They are unpredictable and can change course abruptly.
  • A tornado is deceptive, it may appear to be standing still when it is moving toward you.
  • Keep your radio on to find out what areas are affected, what roads are safe, where to go, and what to do if you have been directed to evacuate.
  • Keep your emergency kit close by.
  • Follow instructions from authorities. Remember, disobeying an order puts lives at risk.
  • ​Go to the basement or underground shelter, if available.
  • Otherwise, take shelter in a small interior ground floor room such as a bathroom, closet or hallway.
  • Make sure windows and doors are closed and secured, then stay away from them. 
  • ​Shelter in your home, as above. Do not try to rescue livestock unless you feel it is safe to do so. 
​Office or apartment
  • ​Take shelter in an inner hallway or room, ideally in the basement or on the ground floor.
  • Do not use the elevator. Stay away from windows. 
​Large building
  • ​Buildings such as an arena or shopping mall may collapse if a tornado hits.
  • If possible, find shelter in another building.
  • If trapped inside, take cover under a sturdy object such as a table or desk.

​Mobile home or vehicle
  • ​Mobile homes or vehicles are not safe during tornadoes or any extreme wind storms.
  • More than half of tornado-related deaths occur in or near mobile homes or in vehicles.
  • Seek shelter in a sturdy building immediately.
  • Ensure your emergency plan includes a nearby safe place to evacuate to. 
  • ​If in a rural area and the threat is visible in the distance, you may be able to avoid a tornado by moving at right angles to its path. Otherwise, seek sturdy shelter immediately.
  • If the threat is near and shelter is not available, get out of your car and take cover in a low-lying area, such as a ditch, but beware of flooding.
  • Never try to outrun a nearby tornado.
  • Avoid hiding under bridges or overpasses.

60 second emergency tip: How can you prepare for a tornado?


Floods are a frequent hazard in Canada and have devastated many areas of Alberta. High-risk flood zones are in low-lying areas along river banks, called flood plains. These areas naturally flood when water levels rise. 

Flood Facts

Flooding can occur at any time of year and can result from: 

  • Heavy rainfall, particularly when the ground is still frozen or already wet 
  • Ice jams 
  • Rapid melting of glaciers or snowpacks 
  • Natural or man-made dam failures 

Low-lying areas along rivers or in ravines have a high risk of flooding. Heavy rainfall or dam failures can cause flash floods, which happen quickly and with no warning.

Protect your home and belongings 

  • Use weather protection sealant around basement windows and the base of ground-level doors. 
  • Ensure downspout drainage moves water away from the property. 
  • Install a sump pump and zero reverse flow valves in basement floor drains. 
Water is powerful. It only takes 6 inches of moving water to knock over an adult, 12 inches to carry away a car, and 2 feet to move an SUV. Never attempt to cross a flooded area. 

During a flood 
If there is a threat of flooding in your area, prepare to leave. Consider the following: 
Prepare to leave 
  • Stay informed on the situation by listening to updates from authorities. Be sure to follow all directions and instructions from authorities. 
  • Have your emergency kit, including your important documents, ready to go. Protect your home and belongings 
  • Consult your electricity or fuel supplier for instructions on how to safeguard electrical, natural gas or propane equipment. 
  • Do not shut off electricity if any water is present. 
  • Move furniture, electrical appliances and other belongings to floors above ground level. 
  • Remove toxic substances such as pesticides and insecticides from the flood area to prevent pollution. 
  • Remove toilet bowls and plug basement sewer drains and toilet connections with a wooden stopper.
60 Second Emergency Tip: How can you prepare for a flood?


After flood waters are gone, there could be substantial damage to a community and hazards to be aware of when you return. 


If you are ordered to evacuate, you aren’t allowed to return until authorities have declared it is safe to do so. You should not re-enter your property if: 

  • the City has not deemed it safe to do so 
  • any part of the structure has collapsed 
  • the structure is off its foundation 
  • the main power switch was not turned off prior to flooding 

Remember to use extreme caution, especially if there are holes in the floor, broken glass and dangerous debris. 


It is important to clean and dry your property after a flood as soon as possible to prevent further damage and reduce risks to your health. Here are some helpful tips: 

  • Maintain good hygiene during flood cleanup by: 
    • Reducing contact with floodwater or anything that may have been in contact with it. 
    • Wearing protective clothing like rubber boots, safety glasses, and hard hats. 
    • Never use water that may be contaminated, and wash your hands often. 
  • Keep children and pets away from contaminated areas during clean-up. 
  • Dry carpets within the first two days, and replace if carpets are deeply penetrated or damaged. 
  • Clean all interior wall and floor cavities with a solution of water and unscented detergent. 
  • Mud can be dried and brushed off. 
  • Move damp items to a cool, dry area as soon as possible. Set up fans to minimize mold growth. 


Mold spores are often invisible and can cause long term illness. Symptoms include persistent headaches, sudden nosebleeds, or colds. Mold is identifiable by signs of brown, grey or black growth on surfaces; not all mold damage is visible though. 

  • Wear a dust mask and rubber gloves. 
  • Dispose of all insulation material, particleboard, furniture, mattresses, box springs, stuffed toys, pillows, padding, cushions and furniture coverings that show signs of mold. 
  • Freeze important textiles and documents until you have time to treat them. 

Plastic and hardwood items may be saved. Let wet mold dry, then brush it off outdoors, and disinfect. Washable items can also be saved. Disinfect by lightly misting each item with a cleaner (e.g. rubbing alcohol or chlorine bleach; use 1 part cleaner to 4 parts water). 


  • Protective gear 
  • Pails, mops and squeegees 
  • Plastic garbage bags and large containers 
  • Unscented detergent, chlorine bleach or rubbing alcohol 
  • Equipment such as extension cords, water pumps, shop vacuums, carbon monoxide detectors, dehumidifiers, fans, and heaters
If your property has signs of mold, stay safe by finding alternate housing. 

Water usage 
  • Check local water advisories. Do not use water from the local supply unless it is declared safe by authorities. 
  • Do not drink water if it shows signs of contamination, such as colour, odour, or taste. 
  • Standing water should be drained slowly and in stages. Use pumps or pails to remove, then a wet/dry shop vacuum to clean up the rest. 
  • Contact your local or provincial health authority for instructions on how to disinfect and restore wells and cisterns. 
Property assessment 
Heating and appliances 
  • Do not heat your property to more than 4°C/40°F until after all the water is gone. 
  • Do not use any appliances or electrical systems, or touch electric panels, until all components have been thoroughly cleaned, dried and inspected by a qualified electrician. 
  • Buy and install a carbon monoxide sensor if you plan to use pumps or heaters powered by gasoline, kerosene or propane during clean up. 
  • Clean or replace soaked or damaged parts, such as filters, ducts, and electrical components, in the furnace and hot water tank. 
Food and medicine 
  • Thoroughly wash and disinfect all undamaged food, medicine, and supplies. 
  • Dispose of all food, medicine, cosmetics and toiletries that made contact with flood water. 


An outage is a short or long term loss of water or electric power. It can affect a single property, a building, or an entire community. Many of Alberta’s hazards, such as high winds, freezing rain, and flooding, can damage power lines causing power outages. Water outages are caused by extreme temperature fluctuations and pipe corrosion causing water main breaks, among other reasons. 

Carbon monoxide poisoning is preventable. Generators, camp stoves, or barbecues do not belong indoors; gas stoves and ovens are not a safe source of heat.

During an outage 

Outages can leave you without heat, water, lights, air conditioning, information services, and vital communication channels. Services such as grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, banks, and ATMs may be closed during an extended outage. 

Outage troubleshooting 

  • If the power is still on in your neighbourhood but not in your home, check your breaker. 
  • Call your utility provider to determine if the interruption is widespread or only affecting your property. 
  • Leave one light on inside and one light on outside so you and the utility worker will know when power has been restored. 
  • Don’t use any household appliances that require water.
Know when to go 
Extreme heat and cold can have a greater impact on older adults, young children or those with health issues. If it is too cold to stay where you are, and it is safe to leave, head to a shelter until it is safe to return. 

Outage survival tips 
  • Head to the lowest level of the building. Heat is drawn from the ground so it will stay warm longer. 
  • Keep doors and blinds closed. 
  • Have extra blankets and warm clothes on hand. 
  • Use a wood-burning or gas fireplace if you have one. 
  • Turn cell phones to battery-saving mode and only use them for emergency calls. 
  • Disconnect appliances and electronics. 
  • Keep freezer and refrigerator doors closed.
After an outage 
Outages can create safety risks and cause property damage. Be aware of the risks and take caution when power and water returns. 

Safety tips 
  • Do not enter a flooded basement unless you are sure the power is disconnected. 
  • Keep yourself, kids, and pets away from affected areas in your community. 
  • Never use water-damaged appliances, electrical outlets or fuse-breaker panels until they have been checked by a qualified electrician. 
  • Check all food for signs of spoilage and damage. When in doubt, throw it out. 
  • After 24 hours of no power, all refrigerated medication should be thrown out, unless the label says otherwise.
  • Restock your emergency kit. 
How to prevent further damage 
  • Unplug appliances and electronics before turning on the main power switch. 
  • Allow the power to stabilize and wait 15 minutes before reconnecting tools and appliances. 
  • Turn the essentials on first. Start with heat, followed by the refrigerator and freezer. 
  • Turn on the main water supply. 
  • Make sure the hot water heater is filled before turning it on. 
  • Connect with your utility provider for more information. 
60 Second Emergency Tip: How can you prepare for an outage?