Emergency Preparedness Program

New Westminster's Emergency Management Program involves community outreach and awareness, emergency planning, training and preparedness, and actions that respond to and recover from emergency situations.


  • An emergency or natural disaster can occur anytime, anywhere. A fire, earthquake, flooding, heavy rains, and or a transportation incident are just some of the possibilities. The City of New Westminster strives to be a prepared community, ready to respond to these and other disasters or emergencies. There are also provincial and federal entities which play a key role in emergency planning and emergency response for citizens.

    Flood Management
    On an annual basis the City prepares for the possibility of freshet / flooding and closely monitors the annual snow pack and river conditions on the Provincial River Forecast Center website. In the event that flood conditions are predicted the City has developed an emergency plan that identifies locations that require temporary protection measures, city staff responsibilities, and monitoring plans. For more information please see the Flood Management.

    Weather Advisories
    Climate change and global warming have impacted the way weather and weather patterns can affect the Lower Mainland. The fall and winter months tend to bring heavy rains, winds and snow, but spring storms are not unusual. Localized flooding and power outages are all possible during these weather events. In the summer months, the City may experience high temperatures and drought, which may result in water shortages and the issuing of a fire ban.

    For Spring / Summer Preparedness tips click here

  • Annually the Emergency Management Office is training with residents in the community to help provide annual evacuation drills in their buildings. During this training information is reviewed about the hazards that are in their area and how they can effectively evacuate.

    If a threat of an emergency was to occur, the City of New Westminster will follow the following steps to shelter in place or evacuate

    Shelter in Place

    Sheltering-in-place (SIP) is the practice of going or remaining indoors during an outdoor release of a hazardous substance. Shelter-in-place is the reverse of an evacuation. Sheltering-in-place uses the structure of the building to protect you. The purpose of sheltering-in-place is to reduce the movement of air into and out of the building until either the hazard has passed or other emergency actions can be taken.

    Stage 1 - Evacuation Alert
    The purpose of the Evacuation Alert is to inform the population at threat of a potential or impending danger. An Evacuation Alert may allow for the affected population to begin an orderly preparation to leave the affected area while informing them of the hazard as well as identify hazard/emergency zone, evacuation route(s) and Reception Centres. Evacuation alerts do not require a declaration of a state of local emergency. In some instances an Evacuation Order is immediate and no evacuation alert is given.

    Stage 2 - Evacuation Order
    The order to evacuate all or part of an area should only be given after careful consideration of all the factors involved, and with life safety being paramount. The hazard and situation is the primary indicator when making the decision to evacuate.

    It should be stated that while the evacuation order is in effect, the area in question will have controlled access. Locating, rescuing, stabilizing and removing victims from hazardous and/or contaminated area(s) is done only by emergency services personnel where the risk to first responders is minimal.

    Persons who remain in an area in violation of an Evacuation Order should be advised that they cannot expect assistance if their lives are subsequently threatened by the hazard.

    Police and Peace Officers can arrest and charge individuals who are obstructing the evacuation process or hindering first responder's in the performance of their duties. Boundaries of the declaration of a state of local emergency must cover all areas under evacuation. Declarations of emergency automatically expire after seven days. If it is required to leave the evacuation order in place beyond the seven days, local authorities should ensure that the local declaration is extended.

    Stage 3 - Evacuation Rescind
    When the emergency which necessitated the evacuation is under control and the hazard/emergency zone is declared safe, a Rescind of the Evacuation Order is issued. In many situations the population should be advised that although they are being allowed to return to their homes, the risk may reoccur and the potential for the reinstatement of the Evacuation Order remains.
  • In larger emergencies, onsite responders might require policy, coordination, and resource direction and support. An Emergency Operations Centre or EOC is set up off site of the incident in a pre-designated facility to provide this support. 

    The EOC provides policy direction to site Incident Commander(s), coordinates resource requests from the site(s), and manages all non-site activities.

    Designated City of New Westminster personnel have been trained in the setup and operation of an EOC and the incident command system. Exercises and drills are conducted monthly to ensure these designated staff are kept up to date with their training.


  • What does it do? 

    This unit is to be a shared resource within the City, one that is capable of being used as a command post to facilitate an effective and coordinated response to an emergency and thereby aid in the proficient use of resources. Being able to respond to emergencies and disasters in a coordinated and efficient manner is critical since these situations can cause severe disruptions in normal operations and communication.


    Reception Centers for Emergency Social Services, Information Booths, Portable Office Space, Incident Command Post,Planned/ Un-planned Events, Aid to other Local Authorities or Agencies,Community Events i.e. Festivals or Parades, Crime Scenes.

  • What does it do?

    The water purification unit is a self contained mobile water purification unit built into a trailer that can be moved to any source of water regardless of contamination.