Hazardous Material Spills

Hazardous material spills can occur on land or in the water, and can include things such as chemicals, radiation, biohazard materials, oil and gas, propane, flammable materials, industrial products and mixed waste. If a hazardous material spill threatens a community, local officials may ask you to evacuate your home. To prepare for a potential evacuation alert or order, it's important to develop a household plan, put together your emergency kit and connect with your neighbours. Learn about the emergency response plan for your area.

Evacuation Stages

  • Evacuation Order: You are at risk. Leave the area immediately. Local police or RCMP enforce evacuation orders.
  • Evacuation Alert: Be ready to leave on short notice. If you leave before or during this alert, it’s called a voluntary evacuation.
  • Evacuation Rescinded: All is currently safe and you can return home. Stay tuned for other possible evacuation alerts or orders.


Sometimes an accident may cause a hazardous material to enter the air. Unless the hazardous material is flammable, emergency response professionals may recommend that you stay indoors until you receive instructions to leave. Once you are inside, there are several things you can do to help your building protect you. Learn more here.

Environmental Emergency Program

B.C.'s Environmental Emergency Program is responsible for responding to spills of hazardous materials and harmful substances. The program develops and implements tools to prevent, prepare for and respond to oil spills, chemical spills and spills of any substance (e.g. salt, canola oil) that could disturb or harm the natural environment.