New Brunswick·New

Saint John plans evacuation route

Saint John is setting up more than 200 blue-and-white directional signs that mark an evacuation route in the city in the case of a disaster.
Saint John is setting up more than 200 signs to mark the city's new evacuation route. ((CBC))

Saint John is setting up more than 200 blue-and-white directional signs that mark an evacuation route in the city in the case of a disaster.

The city's emergency plan was updated on Tuesday and it includes setting up the signs with a large "E" and arrows pointing to the evacuation route.

City officials say the new program factors in all emergencies, including major grass fires, flash flooding and human-made disasters.

Saint John Mayor Ivan Court said the evacuation route is an example of the steps the city is taking to make sure it is prepared for any possible scenario.

"We're an industrial city. We have the largest oil refinery in Canada. We have an [liquefied natural gas] facility. We have three industrial parks, Point Lepreau [Nuclear Generating Station] isn't too far away from us," Court said.

"Basically, things do happen — you have to be proactive, not reactive."

Murielle Provost, the city's manager of emergency preparedness, said Saint John's industrial landscape puts it at a higher risk than other regions, and requires extra attention.

"There was a need now to say, 'As we expand industrially, how do we extend safety and security to our residents,'" Provost said.

When an evacuation is ordered, Saint John Police will direct people along the correct route either to another part of the city, or away from the city depending on the scope of the emergency.

Saint John Police Chief Bill Reid said the signage is designed to be straightforward.

"If I don't see a police officer or someone there I know this sign is directing me away from harm's way and it's the route I should take — that's what's going to assist our citizens," Reid said.

Most of the new signs should be up by the end of May, the cost of the signs and installation is $19,000.