Emergency Preparedness

The Community Care and Assisted Living Act and the Assisted Living Regulation set out operators’ responsibilities to promote and protect residents’ health and safety in assisted living residences.

Emergency Response

When an emergency occurs, a comprehensive plan of action can avoid confusion, injury and property damage.  Operators need to be proactive; plan for emergencies and ensure staff and residents are clear about what to do in an emergency.

Operators are responsible for creating a comprehensive emergency response plan, ensuring emergency measures are in place and providing resident access to first aid at all times.

An emergency response plan needs to describe:

  • Accessible emergency procedures to be followed, specific to the residence - to mitigate, respond to and recover from an emergency
  • The procedures to follow in an emergency drill and how often to conduct a drill
  • Evacuation procedures, including any supports residents require to evacuate or move to a safer location; and
  • How residents will continue to receive adequate hospitality services and assisted living services during and following an emergency

Appropriate emergency measures need to be in place. These include:

  • Emergency exits and an emergency drill system
  • Posting evacuation procedures and a diagram of emergency exits in common areas and near exits
  • Reliable communication equipment (i.e., a cell phone or a satellite phone) is accessible to staff
  • Fire protection equipment, such as fire extinguishers, that is inspected, tested and maintained as per the BC Fire Code; and
  • Conducting emergency drills

First Aid

Operators need to provide access to first aid help at all times, including:

  • Residents having access to an employee who holds a valid first aid and CPR certificate
  • Employees having access to first aid supplies


Operators need to be prepared to respond to an overdose if their resident population is at risk. Operators need to:

  • Risk assess the population
  • Develop a policy that describes how to prevent and how to respond to an overdose
  • Have supplies of Naloxone readily accessible to all employees and residents, in case of an opioid overdose
  • Train all employees to administer Naloxone
  • Provide information to all residents about how to administer Naloxone

Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many others.

Naloxone is a medication that quickly reverses the effects of an overdose from opioids.