AHS supports re-entry to Drayton Valley following wildfire

May 16, 2023

RED DEER – Following the lifting of the evacuation of the town of Drayton Valley due to wildfire risk, Alberta Health Services (AHS) is urging caution as residents begin to return to the community today.

Effective May 16, 2023, the wildfire risk for the town of Drayton Valley has subsided enough to allow for residents to return in a staggered re-entry. This includes all AHS staff, physicians and volunteers who were part of the evacuation.

During the overnight hours May 4, AHS, with the help of our EMS teams, began the evacuation of all patients and residents in care at Drayton Valley Hospital and Care Centre following an evacuation order issued for the community due to wildfire risk. By mid-afternoon May 5, all those in care at the hospital, as well as those caring for them, were safely relocated to alternative facilities.

As part of the re-entry, AHS will be resuming operation of the Emergency Department as of 7:30 a.m. on May 17. Other services, including laboratory collections, diagnostic imaging, dialysis and public health appointments will follow in the coming days.

Home Care clients returning to the community are asked to contact the Home Care office after May 18 so that appointments can be scheduled once clients are settled.

All residents and business owners who are returning home are reminded that wildfire areas can pose risks to your health. After a wildfire, your home may be affected by smoke, soot and ash, chemicals, structural damage, and water damage.

The health and safety of patients and staff remains AHS’ top priority. We are continuously monitoring the wildfire situation and continue to work closely with our community partners for a safe re-entry to the community and a safe return to healthcare services.

Planning is underway to support the return of patients and continuing care residents who were evacuated from the Drayton Valley Hospital and Care Centre. These patients and residents remain safe in alternative facilities at this time. Their moves back to Drayton Valley will be carefully coordinated over the coming days.

As evacuated patients and continuing care residents are relocated to Drayton Valley, AHS will remain in contact with families of loved ones to share patient/resident location information.

We are extremely grateful for our frontline staff, leaders and physicians who have come together to support the response across AHS, and especially to those who have been evacuated along with their families. We are also grateful for our partner organizations, including several continuing care organizations that continue to support these efforts.

We are also appreciative of our community partners and volunteers who continue to answer when called upon for their support.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Our mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans. Our current focus is on reducing emergency department wait-times, improving EMS response times, increasing access to surgeries, and improving patient flow.