Be Ready for Emergencies

Be Ready for Emergencies

Be Ready: Make an emergency plan and kit

Everyone needs an emergency plan for their home or organization. Knowing what to do when emergencies happen will help keep you focused and safe.  


Why Emergency Plans Matter

If an emergency happens in your community, it may take emergency workers some time to reach you. Having an emergency plan and kit ensures you and your family are prepared.

How long to plan for

You should be ready to take care of yourself and your family for a minimum of 72 hours – and aim for up to seven days if you are in a remote community or off the highway system.  

Build your plan

It will take about 20 minutes. Give a copy to every member of your family.

Your emergency plan should include:

  • 2 ways out of each room of your home in case of fire
  • Emergency exits from your home
  • Escape routes from your neighbourhood
  • Meeting places for your family to reconnect
  • Designated caregivers for children
  • Meeting special health needs
  • Shelter for pets
  • Emergency contacts and important information
  • Utility shut offs and home instructions

Follow this guide and print out the results:

If you prefer to complete it with a paper and pen:

Make an emergency plan for people with disabilities and special needs:

Test your plan

Read and review your emergency plan with your family twice a year. Make adjustments for seasonal conditions; practice your escape routes and update your emergency contacts’ information.

Make your emergency kit

Emergency kits should allow you and those you live with be self-sufficient without power or running water.

They are extremely important for keeping you safe while emergency responders deal with the immediate and urgent requirements of the emergency.

How long to plan for

Your kit should have enough to keep you and your family self-sufficient for at least 72 hours. Keep in mind that you could be without power and/or water during this time.

Aim for a kit that provides up to seven days if you are in a remote community or off the highway system. 

How to make an emergency kit

  • Think about what you, your family and pets need to survive if you can’t stay in your home or if there are no utilities. Use checklists for home kits and car kits.
  • Gather supplies for each family member.
  • Organize them in a backpack or rolling suitcase. Use more than one bag so that your kit isn’t too heavy to carry.
  • Put essential items like food, water and medication in one kit. This makes it easy to locate when the power is out and easy to grab and go in case you must leave your home quickly.
  • Include a copy of your emergency plan. Include emergency contacts. Keep copies of important documents such as passports, birth certificates and insurance records.
  • Store the kit in an easy-to-reach place. Make sure everyone knows where it is.
  • Check your kit every 6 months. Replace expired items and stock seasonal items.
  • Don’t count on being home when an emergency occurs. Create an emergency kit to keep in your car or at work, too.

What goes in my kit?

  • About 2L of water per person per day.
  • A supply of non-perishable food for all family members and pets to last at least three days.
  • First-aid kit.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries.
  • Wind-up or battery-powered radio and extra batteries.
  • Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses.
  • Prescriptions or special medications.
  • Car keys, credit cards and cash.
  • Garbage bags, moist towelettes and sanitation supplies.
  • Chargers for cellphones and electronic communication devices.
  • Seasonal clothing and footwear for each family member.

Resources for emergency kits

In Case of Evacuation make your grab-and-go bag

To be better prepared for an emergency or evacuation you need to create a grab-and-go bag for each member of your household and pets that includes items you will need in the immediate period after an event. Evacuations can last from a few days to many weeks.

What goes in my grab-and-go bag?

  • Food (ready to eat) and water

  • Phone charger and battery bank

  • Small battery-powered or hand-crank radio

  • Batter-powered or hand-crank flashlight

  • Extra batteries

  • Small first-aid kit and personal medications

  • Personal toiletries and items, such as an extra pair of glasses or contact lenses

  • Copy of your emergency plan

  • Copies of important documents, such as insurance papers and identification

  • Cash in small bills

  • Local map with your family meeting place identified.

  • Seasonal clothing and an emergency blanket

  • Pen and notepad

  • Whistle

If you have young children, consider an activity such as a colouring book or a favourite book. If you have pets to take with you, consider where their travel container is, as well as food for a couple of days, a leash, waste bags, and a favourite toy.

Maintaining Your Supplies

After assembling your kit and grab-and-go bags remember to maintain them so that they are ready when needed:

  • Keep canned food in a cool, dry place.

  • Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers

  • Replace expired items as needed.

  • Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.

Storage Locations

Since you don’t now where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare supplies for home, work and cars.

  • Home: Keep this kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept.

  • Work: Be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should include food, water, and other necessities like medicines, as well as comfortable walking shoes, stored in a “grab and go” case.

  • Car: In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car.