After a disaster or emergency such as a massive power outage, severe storm, flood or earthquake, emergency services and utilities may not be available for several days. Are you and your family prepared to survive on your own for at least 72 hours after disaster strikes?
The most important thing that you can do is to be prepared. Stay calm and follow instructions from emergency personnel. Here’s some tips on how to be prepared:
Have a Grab ‘n Go Bag Ready
Pack these items in a waterproof backpack or soft suitcase and keep them available to you at all times.
- candles (tea lights are good)
- cash (coins & paper money
- duct tape
- dust mask
- flashlight with spare batteries
- food (5-year expiry type as well as granola and energy bars)
- glow sticks (2)
- map of area
- mini first aid kit
- out of area contact name and phone number
- paper and pens
- personal hygiene items (soap, toothpaste, deodorant, waterless hand wash, shampoo, toilet paper, tissue, etc.)
- pocket or Swiss Army knife
- portable radio with spare batteries
- rain gear (ie. garbage bags, ponchos, etc.)
- set of spare clothing including sturdy shoes
- silver foil blankets
- spare glasses (if necessary)
- water (5-year expiry type or bottled)
- waterproof matches
- whistle on a string
- work gloves
Make a “Get Prepared in 1 Year” Plan
“Where Do I Begin?” It’s important to have a family emergency kit but don’t let cost & time set you back.
Consider taking on a new task every two weeks to get prepared over the course of 1 year. In no particular order, here’s some suggested tasks that you & your family can do every 2 weeks to get prepared:
Get a portable container with a lid to use an emergency kit, such as a plastic storage bin. Label it and choose an accessible location for it near an exit. Make sure all family members know its purpose and location.
Arrange to have an out-of-area contact person for your family. Keep their name & contact information, as well as other emergency phone numbers in each family member’s mobile device, by a telephone, and with a copy in the kit. Teach family members to contact the out-of-area contact person so that 1 person at minimum has the status of each family member.
Stock your emergency kit with the following food & water items (remember, just 1 of the following types every 2 weeks):
- a three-day supply of water, including water for your pets. You need four litres of water per person per day – two for drinking and two for food preparation and hygiene.
- manual can opener.
- water purification tablets.
- varieties of canned meat and dried fruit.
- peanuts and granola bars.
- dried soups and crackers.
- juice or juice crystals.
- canned food like stews, baked beans and vegetables.
- evaporated or powdered milk and cereal.
- freeze-dried or foil pouch food products
- Plastic and paper plates, and utensils.
- three-day supply of pet food.
Stock your emergency kit with the following (remember, just 1 of the following types every 2 weeks):
- A change of clothing for each family member. Be sure to include warm clothing, heavy work gloves and sturdy shoes.
- A spare set of house and car keys
- Portable radio and extra batteries.
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Large and medium plastic garbage bags. Orange or yellow make good visible signals. Large bags can also be used as ponchos, ground covers or blankets.
- Pair of scissors.
- Pocket knife (Swiss Army style)
- A spare pet leash or pet carrier
- Reusable plates and utensils.
- Candles and waterproof matches.
- Extra set of prescription medications and eyeglasses
- First-aid kit with bandages, sterile gauze pads, tape, scissors, tweezers, antibiotic ointment, hydrogen peroxide and over-the-counter pain pills
- Personal toiletries such as toilet paper, wipes, soap, detergent, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, sanitary supplies
- Sleeping bags or blankets
- Important documents such as wills, insurance papers, medical records, inventory of possessions and ID into a fire/waterproof container.
- An album of family photos.
Think and Practice Preparedness!
- Know what hazards could impact your community.
- Get your family involved and do a home hazard hunt. Secure appliances and heavy furniture, move beds away from heavy mirrors and windows.
- Enroll your family members in the upcoming free Emergency Preparedness courses
- Give every family member tasks for an emergency, e.g. turning off electricity, collecting the emergency kit or taking charge of pets.
- Identify safe places in your home and practice your “drop, cover and hold” position.
- Identify a family meeting place away from home but close to your regular spots (between work and home or school). Add some books, toys and cards to your emergency kit.
- Check your insurance policies and make records of your possessions.
- Get a large bucket with tight-fitting lid to use as a toilet, and put it with your kit. Store tools in it, such as an axe, folding shovel and rope.
Winter Emergency Preparedness
In the event of a winter storm, are you and your family equipped to be comfortable and safe?
You can plan ahead and be prepared before a winter storm arrives to better ensure that you can be safe and comfortable during the winter season.
Here is a list of some basic emergency supplies that will help you and your family to be more self-sufficient for up to 72 hours during a winter storm:
- Battery-powered or wind-up radio
- Copy of your emergency plan and contact information
- Extra keys and some cash (coins and bills)
- First-aid kit
- Flashlight with working batteries
- Food that won’t spoil and that requires little to no preparation (i.e. canned, or dried)
- Manual can opener
- Specialty items (for infants, disabled persons, elderly, as well as pets)
- Water (at least 4 litres of water per person per day – for drinking, hygiene, and food preparation)
In bad weather conditions, always try to minimize travel. If you must travel, be aware of the environment & conditions in which you are travelling, and always keep an emergency kit in your vehicle trunk.
Winter weather can be very hard on pets. Bring your pets inside during winter weather. For other animals or livestock, move them into sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
Preparing to Protect Your Pets
As a pet owner, severe weather events and disasters can disrupt your life and that of your pets. While pets are not always thought of when becoming prepared, its important to recognize that most pets are not wild animal and are not accustomed to having to secure food on their own.
In an emergency, it is your responsibility to look after your pet’s wellbeing and to provide for its basic needs.
Here is a list of some basic emergency supplies for a basic pet preparedness kit:
- Blanket or cover for your pet
- Collar, harness, and leash
- Food and water supply for at least 72 hours
- Food and water dish
- Health and vaccination records for your pet/li>
- Identification tags for your pet
- Medicine or first-aid required by the pet/li>
- Portable kennel or cage
TIP: Your pet’s portable kennel or cage is an excellent emergency kit container for your pet.
Its important that you keep your pets with you, if possible. Pets which are frightened and confused will behave differently, and can become vicious. Your pet can be reassured by you and your actions actions. As animals are known to be able to sense earthquakes before hand, you can expect your pet to be extremely nervous, sensitive to sounds and external stimuli before, during, and after an event.
You are now prepared with the essentials! Check your emergency kit periodically to rotate and replace items as they expire. It’s always valuable to practice preparedness with your family from time to time, and update your plan as your family’s needs change.
Emergency Info BC / Emergency Alerts
Household Preparedness Guide
Preparedness Resources for Apartments, Condos and Townhomes
Preparedness Resources for People with Disabilities
Preparedness Tips for Pets
Preparedness Guide for Small Business