Emergency Preparedness Week: Make a Plan, Have a Kit

The first week in May is marked as Emergency Preparedness Week in Canada, an awareness and education campaign aimed at helping Canadians properly prepare for an emergency, should one occur.

Emergency Preparedness Week is a national awareness initiative that has taken place annually since 1996. It is a collaborative event undertaken by provincial and territorial emergency management organizations supporting activities at the local level, in concert with Public Safety Canada and partners. [Government of Canada]

The key parts of emergency preparedness are to make a plan and have a kit.

Planning for home: 

  • Determine your home’s evacuation routes
  • Establish a safe meeting place for your family
  • Plan for the evacuation of any pets you have
  • Have an emergency 72-hour kit (see below)

Understanding your neighbourhood: 

  • Know your neighbours and who to turn to in a disaster
  • Identify if your community has an emergency plan or evacuation route
  • Identify if your community has a shelter

Have a 72-hour emergency kit:

  • Bottled water: you want to ensure you have enough water for each member of your family, and enough to last up to three days.
  • Food: a minimum of 3 days worth of non-perishable food (good for up to three years). Food items like canned and dried food and energy bars.
  • Food supplies: can opener, even a camping stove for cooking. You’ll also want to have some utensils in your kit as well.
  • Baby supplies: diapers, wipes, formula and anything your baby would need for three days.
  • Special needs items: any prescriptions your family needs, extra contacts, etc.
  • Flashlight: if you have a battery-operated one, make sure you have extra batteries. It’s best to find a wind-up flashlight.
  • Radio: again, ensure you have enough batteries for the radio, or find a wind-up radio.
  • Sleeping supplies: clothing items, sleeping bags, extra socks and blankets.
  • First aid kit: a standard first aid kit will do, but make sure it’s fully stocked.
  • Extra keys: a spare set of car and house keys.
  • Cash: have a sum of cash in small bills, as credit and debit cards may not work in an emergency situation.
  • Copies of important documents: these would include birth certificates, passports, insurance policies, etc.
  • Plastic bags: garbage bag size is good for this.
  • Waterproof matches: and matches that will ‘strike anywhere’.
  • Whistle: or any emergency noisemaker device.