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Protective Actions

If you are instructed to evacuate:

  • Listen to the instructions from the Province, which are broadcast on local radio and television stations. Also, follow Emergency Management Ontario under Facebook and Twitter.
  • Do not phone 911 unless it is a life-threatening emergency, and minimize telephone use.
  • Quickly pack a complete change of clothing, blankets or sleeping bags, prescription medication and your personal care items.
  • Take identification, money and credit cards.
  • Turn down furnace/turn off air conditioning and other air intakes.
  • Close and lock all windows and doors.
  • Take pets with you. Ensure pets are caged or on a leash, and have food and water.
  • If you don't have your own vehicle, arrange a ride with family, friends or neighbours.
  • For those, who have no means of transportation, Durham Region will provide public transportation through Durham Region Transit. Stay tuned to local radio and television stations for information on bus routes.
  • The direction of the evacuation will be advised. Stay tuned to your local media.
  • If instructed, report to a Reception Centre. Locations will be announced through the media.
  • At the Reception Centre, you and your vehicle will be monitored for radioactive contamination.
  • After being checked, if you do not have a place to stay, you will be directed to an Evacuation Centre, which will provide basic shelter, food and care.
  • Return home only when advised that it is safe to do so. Stay tuned to local radio and television stations for further instructions.

If you are instructed to take shelter:

  • Go inside your home, place of business or other occupied building. If necessary, inform other family, visitors or employees to do the same.
  • Close all doors and windows.
  • To reduce air exchange, as much as possible, limit air intake/exhaust mechanisms. This means turning down the furnace, turning off the air conditioner, closing fireplace damper, etc.
  • Stay tuned to local radio and television stations for further instructions.
  • Stay inside until authorities say it is safe to go outside.

If you are instructed to take KI pills:

During a nuclear emergency, Potassium Iodide (KI) pills can be used to prevent or reduce the absorption of radioactive iodine by the thyroid gland.

Provincial officials will authorize the taking of KI pills, but only if necessary. KI pills should not be taken unless instructed. KI pills will also be available for the public at Reception Centres following an evacuation.

Schools, child care centres, hospitals, and long term care facilities have stockpiles of KI pills for their use during an emergency.

In advance, those living within ten kilometres of the Darlington and Pickering nuclear generating stations can also order a free supply of KI pills for their family online at

Schools, hospitals and nursing homes:

All schools have emergency plans in place that will allow your child to be sent home, if possible, or be taken to a pre-arranged location to be reunited with you. For more information, contact your child’s school.

Should there be a hospital or nursing home in your area, they also have emergency plans. Contact the individual institution, if necessary, to check their arrangements.