Disaster Response Routes

Disaster Response Route Sign

What is a Disaster Response Route?

A network of multi-modal routes (including road, marine, air and rail) that can best move emergency services and supplies to where they are needed in response to a major disaster. DRRs are a critical part of the overall emergency transportation system and require the cooperation and coordination of multiple agencies across multiple jurisdictions.

Why do we need Disaster Response Routes?

The Disaster Response Route is for the movement of disaster response personnel and resources in the aftermath of a disaster. The purpose behind the DRRs is to move quickly to where the need is greatest…and mobility is the key. The services that disaster response personnel and resources provide include: transporting and treating sick and injured people, maintaining law and order, putting out fires, rescuing trapped people, restoring water supply, restoring electricity supply, maintaining traffic control, etc. See General Guidelines and Forms.

When are Disaster Response Routes activated?

DRRs are activated only as needed to meet the demands of an emergency or disaster situation. Only required routes are utilized and only for as long as needed. Traffic management on the DRRs will be defined by the event and the authority having jurisdiction.

Who can use a Disaster Response Route?

Designated disaster responders that have been issued access identification. This will allow for quick identification at checkpoints and permit the efficient movement of required resources to where they are needed most. See General Guidelines and Forms for the definition of a disaster responder and to apply for DRR access identification for applicable members of your organization.

When a disaster strikes, unless you are a disaster responder or supplier that has received “prior approval”, please stay off the disaster response routes.

How are the “Users” of the Disaster Response Routes Identified?

This section is being reviewed and updated. See General Guidelines and Forms.

Identifying a Disaster Response Route

Public awareness and cooperation is necessary to keep these Disaster Response Routes clear following an earthquake or other disaster, in the interest of saving lives and protecting critical infrastructure.

There are signs along roadways in certain parts of BC (Lower Mainland and Greater Victoria), which indicate DRR designation. Many people believe these signs identify an evacuation route. NOT TRUE. Disaster Response Routes are required for the movement of responders and resources for emergency or disaster response. The designation of Disaster Response Routes means other roadways can be utilized for non-emergency traffic, commuting, or the unlikely event of an organized evacuation. Disaster Response Routes are NOT evacuation routes. They will be activated as needed during an event and it is recommended that everyone listen to the radio and television for public service announcements regarding emergency routes and their uses.  

Where are the Disaster Response Routes?

General Guidelines and Forms

The documents below are general guidelines only. Responders and Planners should consult the local authority or Emergency Management BC (EMBC) or DRR.Info@gov.bc.ca for more information on the concept of operations.

  • Guidelines for the Distribution of Disaster Responder Identification- 22 KB PDF (1 page)
    Definition of Disaster Responder and Use and Distribution of DRR Identification. This section is being reviewed and updated.
  • Involving multiple agencies and multiple jurisdictions, a provincial advisory group and two regional working groups are reviewing and updating the general guidelines for DRRs and DRR access identification.

Disaster Response Route Presentations and Background