When unexpected disasters hit you, would you be prepared?
Checking your safety list and making your emergency kit only takes a short time, maybe 20 minutes or even less for most of us. However, only a tiny fraction of people spend time and effort preparing themselves for emergencies.
We have seen how unforeseen disasters can shake us upside down immediately, both in real life and in movies. Whether you are prepared for such an event or not makes a difference between life and death. So we strongly urge you to allocate some time in your schedule on a regular basis and work on checking and creating your emergency plan and kits.
We've summed up information found on Canada's Government website for emergency preparedness for you. Use this information to check what you need to do and prepare for any necessary emergency plans.
First 72 Hours
It is strongly advised that you are prepared to take care of yourself and your family for three days. That's 72 hours in total. Make sure you have an emergency kit that's good for 72 hours minimum. Read the following carefully and find out what you need to do to become better prepared to face a range of emergencies – anytime, anywhere.
Know the Risks
Depending on what region you live in, you may face particular hazards more frequently. For example, while earthquakes are highly likely in British Columbia, tornadoes often happen in Ontario.
Visit GetPrepared.ca to find out what risks are relevant to your community. www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cdd provides a great database on disasters, including those triggered by natural hazards, technological hazards, or conflict.
Make a Plan
Every household needs a personalized emergency kit. An emergency can happen at any time anywhere, even when your family members are not together. When you create your own plan, be as thorough as possible. Visit GetPrepared.ca for information regarding specific risks, such as earthquakes, power outages, floods, and severe storms.
Neighbourhood Safety Plan
There may be some people in your neighbourhood who will need extra help during an emergency. Work with your neighbours to identify them and assign people for specific duties. Make sure to update your emergency plan on a regular basis.
Emergency exits from every room of your home must be clearly identified.
Identify safe places where everyone should meet if you cannot go home or you need to evacuate.
Make copies of important documents such as birth and marriage certificates, passports, licenses, wills, land deeds, insurance, etc.
Learn about emergency evacuation plans at your workplace. It may also be a good idea to stock some basic emergency supplies such as water and food that won't spoil.
Make sure you know the emergency policies of the school your children attend. Find out what type of authorization would the school require to release your children. Regularly check if the school has the updated contact information for parents, caregivers, and designated persons.
Your pets are your family too. In case of an evacuation, pets may not be allowed in some public shelters or hotels. It's a good idea identify to pet-friendly hotels or pet boarding facilities in your area.
Special Health Needs
You or your family member may need special support. Establish a personal support network that understands your special needs and can support you during an emergency. Write down details about your condition including:
Family medical history
Keep a copy of this information in your emergency kit, and give a copy to your personal support network.
Safe Home Instructions
Regularly check that your carbon monoxide detector, smoke alarm, and fire extinguisher are working. Your first-aid kit must always be well-stocked and renewed without any expired items.
Get an Emergency Kit
In an emergency, it is very crucial that you have basic supplies ready. During an emergency, you may need to get by without power or tap water for a while. Make sure you are prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours.
Below are basic emergency items recommended by the Government of Canada:
Water – at least two litres of water per person per day; include small bottles that can be carried easily in case of an evacuation order
Food that won't spoil, such as canned food, energy bars and dried foods (replace food and water once a year)
Crank or battery-powered flashlight (and extra batteries). Replace batteries once a year.
Crank, battery-powered radio (and extra batteries) or Weatheradio
First aid kit
Extra keys to your car and house
Some cash in smaller bills, such as $10 bills and change for payphones
A copy of your emergency plan and contact information
If applicable, other items such as prescription medication, infant formula, equipment for people with disabilities, or food, water and medication for your pets or service animal (personalize according to your needs)
Recommended additional items:
Two additional litres of water per person per day for cooking and cleaning
Candles and matches or lighter (place candles in deep, sturdy containers and do not burn unattended)
Change of clothing and footwear for each household member
Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each household member
Water purifying tablets
Basic tools (hammer, pliers, wrench, screwdrivers, work gloves, dust mask, pocket knife)
A whistle (in case you need to attract attention)
Duct tape (to tape up windows, doors, air vents, etc.)
We also strongly suggest preparing a small kit and keeping it in your vehicle. The basic kit should include:
Candle in a deep can and matches
Extra clothing and shoes
First aid kit with seatbelt cutter
Flashlight (crank or battery-powered). Replace batteries once a year.
Food that won't spoil (such as energy bars)
List of contact numbers
Radio (crank or battery-powered). Replace batteries once a year.
Small shovel, scraper, and snowbrush
Warning light or road flares
Additional recommended items are:
Antifreeze, windshield washer fluid
Sand, salt or cat litter (non-clumping)
Tow rope and jumper cables