If an emergency happens, it may take emergency workers some time to reach you.
You should be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for a minimum of 72 hours.
Although the consequences of various disasters can be similar, knowing the risks in your region can help you better prepare.
Every Canadian household needs an emergency plan. It will help you and your family know what to do in case of an emergency. It will take you about 20 minutes to make your plan. Your family may not be together when an emergency occurs. Plan how to meet or how to contact one another, and discuss what you would do in different situations.
Keep this document in an easy-to-find, easy-to-remember place (for example, with your emergency kit).
Photocopy this plan and keep it in your car and/or at work, and a copy close to your phone. If you completed your plan online, keep an electronic version on your computer.
Work with your neighbours to identify people who may need extra help during an emergency. To help make sure everyone is taken care of, assign “block buddies.”
Write yourself a reminder to update your emergency plan one year from now.
On this date next year, review your contact information, practise your emergency evacuation plans, change the batteries in your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector, and restock your kit(s). Change the batteries, food and water in your emergency kits once a year. Draw up a floor plan of your home that shows all possible exits from each room. Plan a main exit route and an alternate exit route from each room. If you live in an apartment, plan to use the stairs instead of the elevators. If you are unable to use the stairs, notify emergency personnel ahead of time. Also, identify an evacuation route from your neighbourhood in case you need to leave in a hurry (and think of more than one option).
Make copies of birth and marriage certificates, passports, licences, wills, land deeds and insurance. Take photos of family members in case a lost person’s record is created. Keep them in a safe place, both inside and outside your home. You might want to put them in a safety deposit box or give them to friends and family who live out of town.
Learn about the emergency evacuation plans in place and what you will need to do.
You may want to have some basic supplies at work, such as water and food that won’t spoil, in case you need to stay put for a while. Check with your employer about workplace emergency plans. Ask your children’s school or daycare about their emergency policies. Find out how they will contact families during an emergency. Find out what type of authorization the school or daycare requires to release your children to a designated person if you can’t pick them up. Make sure the school or daycare has updated contact information for parents, caregivers and designated persons.
In case of an evacuation, remember that pets are not allowed in some public shelters or hotels. In case of an evacuation, prepare to take your pets with you to the home of a relative or friend, or take steps to identify pet-friendly hotels or pet boarding facilities in your area and further away from home.
Establish a personal support network of friends, relatives, health-care providers, co-workers and neighbours who understand your special needs. Talk to your doctor about preparing a grab-and-go bag, if possible, with a two-week supply of medication and medical supplies. Include prescriptions and medical documents. Remember that pharmacies may be closed for some time, even after an emergency is over. Choose an out-of-town contact who lives far enough away that he or she is unlikely to be affected by the same event.
Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector, smoke alarm, fire extinguisher and well-stocked first aid kit. If you live in an apartment, or if you are staying in a hotel, know where the fire alarms and at least two emergency exits are located. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher on every level of your home, including one in your kitchen. All capable adults and older children should know how to use it. See instructions regarding the lifetime of your fire extinguisher and check with your local fire department for more information. Older children and adults should know how to turn off your home’s water, electricity and gas. Teach children how and when to dial 9-1-1 as well as how to call the designated out-of-town contact.
Limit phone calls to urgent messages only. Keep calls short to free up the lines for others. In an emergency, you will need some basic supplies. You may need to get by without power or tap water. Be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours. You may have some of the items already, such as food, water and a battery-operated or crank flashlight. The key is to make sure they are organized and easy to find. Would you be able to find your flashlight in the dark? Make sure your kit is easy to carry and everyone in the household knows where it is. Keep it in a backpack, duffle bag or suitcase with wheels, in an easy-to-reach, accessible place, such as your front-hall closet. It’s a good idea to separate some of these supplies in backpacks. That way, your kit will be more portable and each person can personalize his or her own grab-and-go emergency kit.
Basic emergency kit
• 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)
• Manual can-opener
• 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)
Prepare a small kit and keep it in your vehicle.