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Three Steps to Emergency Preparedness


Verdant Creek

Everyone should be ready to leave their homes in case of an emergency such as flood or fire.

An emergency preparedness kit makes it easy to grab and go if you need to evacuate or leave your home quickly. 

You should be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for a minimum of 72 hours. By taking a few simple steps today, you can become better prepared to face a range of emergencies – anytime, anywhere.

The 3 Steps

# 1: Know the Risks

Although the consequences of various disasters can be similar, knowing the risks in your region can help you better prepare. Across Canada, we face a number of hazards, such as earthquakes in British Columbia, blizzards in Nunavut and tornadoes in Ontario. In addition to natural disasters, there are other types of risks, such as power outages and industrial or transportation accidents. 
Find out the risks most likely in your community by visiting the ‘Know the risks' section from the GetPrepared.ca website or by calling 1-800-O-CANADA to obtain our National Hazards map.

# 2: Make a Plan

Every Canadian household needs an emergency plan. It will help you and your family know what to do in case of an emergency.

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.

It only takes 20 minutes to complete a personalized plan online. You can then print it out. Most of this information can be filled out on your own. You may need to get some information from your municipality. To complete your emergency plan online, visit the ‘Make an emergency plan' page from the GetPrepared.ca website.

To fill out your home emergency plan, you will need to think about the following:

  • Safe exits from home and neighborhood
  • Meeting places to reunite with family or roommates
  • Designated person to pick up children should you be unavailable
  • Contact persons close-by and out-of-town
  • Special health needs
  • Place for your pet to stay
  • Risks in your region
  • Location of your fire extinguisher, water valve, electrical box, gas valve and floor drain
  • 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.

# 3: Get an Emergency Kit

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. 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.

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
  • Wind-up or battery-powered flashlight (and extra batteries)
  • Wind-up or battery-powered radio (and extra batteries)
  • 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
  • Special items such as prescription medications, infant formula, equipment for people with disabilities or food, water and medication for your pets or service animal (personalize your kit according to your needs)
  • TIP: Keep a corded phone in your home, as most cordless phones will not work during a power outage.

Recommended additional items

  • Two additional litres of water per person per day for cooking and cleaning
  • Candles and matches or lighter (Place candles in 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
  • Toiletries
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Utensils
  • Garbage bags
  • Toilet paper
  • Household chlorine bleach or water purifying tablets
  • Basic tools (hammer, pliers, wrench, screwdrivers, work gloves, dust mask, pocket knife)
  • Small fuel-driven stove and fuel (follow manufacturer's directions and store properly)
  • A whistle (in case you need to attract attention)
  • Check your kit twice a year to ensure contents are up to date. Re-stock as needed.

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