WINTER: Snowbird locations and overnight RVing. TRAVEL ALERTS: Know Before You Go

Prince Rupert Sightseeing Boat Photo

Safety and Emergency Tips

The following is a list of Safety and Emergency tips that you may find useful when planning your trip to beautiful British Columbia.

Emergency 911

In emergency situations, contact the local police, ambulance service, fire department and other emergency services by calling 911. Visitors taking prescribed medications should bring a copy of their prescriptions in case they need to be renewed or tended to by a doctor in Canada.

Hospital & Medical Services

Visitors are advised to obtain health insurance before coming to Canada. Check your policy; many health insurance plans only provide partial coverage for services rendered outside the borders of the policy holder’s country of residence. Visitors taking prescribed medications should bring a copy of their prescriptions in case they must be renewed by a doctor in Canada.

Tourist Alert

The news media and many tourist facilities co-operate with the RCMP in the Tourist Alert program to communicate urgent messages to visitors. If you see or hear your name, please phone the number given.

Road Conditions

For information on road conditions 24 hours a day check the Drive BC website at The website includes links to various other information sources such as Inland Ferry Schedules, BC Ferries Waits, Border Crossing Times and Major Incidents and Road Closures.

Forest Fires

If you spot a forest fire or column of smoke while travelling in British Columbia, call the BC Forest Service toll-free at 1-800-663-5555, or hands free at *5555 on your cell phone. For more information, go to BC Wildfire Service.


Technical Safety BC has issued a Information Bulletin: Gas safety certification of recreational vehicles. RVs on any BC Ferry must have the propane shut off at the cylinder.

Bike and Motorcycle Helmets

Helmets are required by everyone riding a bicycle and by both riders and passengers on motorcycles.

Mobile Cell Phones and Driving

It is against the law to drive while using a handheld mobile phone or other electronic device. Drivers may use hands-free cell phones that are voice activated, or activated by one touch, provided they are securely attached to the vehicle or driver’s body i.e. an ear piece.

Alcohol and Driving

It is a criminal offence to operate, or be in the care or control of a vehicle, whether in motion or not, with a blood alcohol content of more than .08 percent. Police in B.C. can issue an immediate roadside prohibition to an impaired driver with a blood-alcohol content of .05 or higher. Drivers with blood alcohol content between 0.5 and 0.8 may also face fines and license suspensions, and have their vehicles impounded. Breath samples may be requested by a peace officer and refusing a breathalyzer test could also result in criminal charges.

Seat Belts

British Columbia law requires that all drivers and passengers use seat belts while driving or riding in a motor vehicle. Strict car/booster regulations are in place for children up to the age of twelve years old, and they must be seated in the rear seats in an age/weight appropriate restraint system. For more details, visit

Vehicle Accidents

If you are involved in an accident, immediately contact the local police or Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), then your insurance company.

Wildlife Tips and Bear Safety

When travelling or camping in British Columbia, wildlife sightings can add an exciting wilderness experience. People come from around the world to catch a glimpse of wild animals in their natural habitat, so if you have the good luck to catch sight of an animal, enjoy the moment. However, to prevent your sighting from becoming an encounter, never feed and always keep your distance from wildlife. Animals’ behaviour can be unpredictable and they are easily startled.

Outside of urban areas, black bears are fairly common. Around campsites they can become a dangerous nuisance. To avoid attracting bears into your camp ensure that all food is sealed and locked inside your vehicle.

If you are aware that a bear is close by, make a noise, use a bear bell and do not run. If the bear is in close proximity and you can see it, talk firmly and avoid eye contact. Slowly back away and use a bear pepper spray. Do not come between a mother bear and its cub.

For more information read the pamphlet Bears and Cougars.

Camping Lodging

The Super Camping / Select Lodging Guide

First Published in 1989