In April 2010, the City completed its Evacuation Plan, which established responsibilities, policies, procedures and guidelines of the organized and supervised temporary relocation of people out of any part of the city that may be threatened or affected by a hazard, getting them to a secure place and returning them home safely.
The challenge is to translate the preparedness aspects of that plan into necessary infrastructure and practice. A study of the other communities both in Canada and the United States has shown the value of posting permanent signs describing evacuation routes. Such signs are not only useful during an emergency itself, but also serve as a public awareness tool on a day-to-day basis, reassuring residents and visitors that the community is ready to ensure their safety. The signs may also encourage residents to think about what they might have to do if an evacuation were ever ordered.
In an effort to assist the residents of the City of Saint John to identify the safest and most expedient routes to follow should need arise to evacuate a specific area of the city, Saint John EMO, in consultation with the Saint John Police Force, initiated a project to strategically install evacuation route signs throughout the city, given its wide range of industrial and commercial enterprises. In total, 208 signs will be installed around the city. The first 120 will be in place by the end of May 2011.
Routes were designed by ADI to allow for the best flow of evacuees away from an emergency while allowing first responders and other services continued access to the site.
Also contributing to the project were the City’s Traffic and Pedestrian Services, Geographic Information Systems and Corporate Communications. McGale and Associates designed the signs, which were approved by the Province of New Brunswick Department of Transportation.
The signage program was approved by Saint John Common Council on September 13, 2010.