Reporters read handouts as deputy fire chief Chris Green outlines the City of Whitehorse Public Safety Plan via video at city hall in Whitehorse on June 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

City of Whitehorse reveals public safety plan

Document outlines evacuation, shelter-in-place procedures

In case of emergency: prepare, listen and calmly follow instructions.

Those are the words coming from City of Whitehorse officials as the Public Safety Protection Plan is released.

The full 64-page plan was formally released on the city’s website June 23 before it was presented at Whitehorse city council’s meeting that evening.

The plan outlines shelter-in-place or evacuation possibilities based on the emergency, though deputy fire chief Chris Green emphasized at a technical briefing exactly what plans are followed will depend on the circumstances of the emergency. Green attended the briefing by video conferencing.

“The plan needs to be flexible,” Green said, describing it as a guiding document that will help direct a tailored response to the emergency.

Possible evacuation routes, for example are mapped out in the plan as well as 20 assembly points and reception centres that residents could register at in the case of an evacuation. Exactly how an evacuation would play out and what reception centre residents would go to though would largely depend on the emergency, traffic flow, and where the emergency is happening.

“This document is a supplement to the city’s Emergency Management Plan, which is the overarching document for emergency and crisis management within Whitehorse,” Green told council in presenting the plan.

The plan has been in the works since 2018 with staff working on it internally first before also working with other organizations like the Yukon government.

“The options and guidelines included in the Public Safety Protection Plan will provide emergency managers with the proper tools to make informed decisions on the actions best required in the specific circumstances of an emergency, and the logistics of executing each action,” Green said in his report to council. “This document is the culmination of a significant effort by city staff and stakeholders within Yukon’s EMO (Emergency Management Organization).”

The plan highlights the importance of being prepared for an emergency with a 72-hour kit of necessities (food, water, flashlight, etc.), personal documents like passports, medications and prescriptions, as well as ensuring any animals are taken care of.

A section on crisis communication emphasizes the need for accurate information going out to the public during an emergency to ensure the public gets the right information. Local media, authorized City of Whitehorse and/or Yukon government social media accounts will provide information and instructions for residents. There could also be other means to communicate with the public as well.

“If time permits, information lines will be established and staffed in which to call and either provide or receive information,” a summary of the plan states. “Be aware that information lines may become congested with callers, so utilization of other reliable sources of information may be beneficial.”

Coun. Jan Stick questioned what might happen if there’s an issue with power outages or Internet and phone lines going down. Offiicials noted in those cases, it may be that emergency responders take to knocking on doors if need be to get the information out.

It’s also recommended residents check in on neighbours and pass on any information they may need.

Shelter-in-place orders or evacuation orders could be issued depending on the emergency.

As Green highlighted, shelter orders could be in place in cases of dangerous air quality (such as thick smoke from a wildfire where the fire may not be directly threatening the community), an active shooter situation, chemical release or more.

In those cases, instructions to lock all doors and windows, turn off fans, heating and air-conditioning systems that draw air from outside, close fireplace dampers, not operate dryers, go to above ground level, seal door and vent cracks and monitor the radio or TV for information on when it is safe or you’re advised to evacuate.

“The evacuation order doesn’t come (easily),” Green said.

A coordinated approach with other agenices like the RCMP would be made to manage traffic flows.

Schools also have plans in place that would see children bused and their evacuation plans followed. Green noted that there could be delays if there are large amounts of traffic heading to schools.

In the case of an evacuation it will be important to register at a designated reception centre with the Canada Games Centre likely serving as the largest centre for the community.

As he noted tough, there is a long list of centres the public may be directed to go to depending on the circumstances.

While the full document is available on the city’s web site, officials are also working to get the plan out in other ways including potentially working with community associations, making a hard copy summary available to residents and more.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

WhitehorseWhitehorse city council

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Whether the dust jacket of this historical novel is the Canadian version (left) or the American (right), the readable content within is the same. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: New novel a gripping account of the gold rush

Stampede: Gold Fever and Disaster in the Klondike is an ‘enjoyable and readable’ account of history

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your furnace and your truck need to go

Perhaps the biggest commitment in the NDP deal with the Liberals was boosting the Yukon’s climate target


Wyatt’s World for May 14, 2021.… Continue reading

Copies of the revised 2021-22 budget documents tabled in the legislature on May 14. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Liberals introduce new budget with universal dental and safe supply funding

The new items were added to secure the support of the NDP.

Community Services Minister Richard Mostyn speaks to reporters on May 13. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Cap on rent increases will take effect May 15

The rollout of the policy is creating ‘chaos,’ says opposition

Safe at home office in Whitehorse on May 10, 2021. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Federal government provides $1.6 million for Yukon anti-homelessness work

Projects including five mobile homes for small communities received funding.

Drilling at Northern Tiger’s 3Ace gold project in 2011. Randi Newton argues that mining in the territory can be reshaped. (Yukon government/file)
Editorial: There’s momentum for mining reform

CPAWS’ Randi Newton argues that the territory’s mining legislations need a substantial overhaul

At its May 10 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the subdivision for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell. (Submitted)
KDFN business park subdivision approved

Will mean more commercial industrial land available in Whitehorse

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed the first two readings of a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. Third reading will come forward later in May. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Whitehorse council pursuing restaurant patio possibilities

Council passes first two readings for new patio bylaw

Neil Hartling, the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon president, left, said the new self-isolation guidelines for the Yukon are a ‘ray of hope’ for tourism operators. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Yukon tourism operators prepared for ‘very poor summer’ even with relaxed border rules

Toursim industry responds to new guidelines allowing fully vaccinated individuals to skip mandatory self-isolation.

A lawsuit has been filed detailing the resignation of a former Yukon government mine engineer. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A year after resigning, former chief mine engineer sues Yukon government

Paul Christman alleges a hostile work environment and circumvention of his authority led him to quit

Former Liberal MLA Pauline Frost speaks to reporters outside the courthouse on April 19. One of the voters accused of casting an invalid vote has been granted intervenor status in the lawsuit Frost filed last month. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Voters named in Pauline Frost election lawsuit ask to join court proceedings

The judge granted Christopher Schafer intervenor status

Most Read