PUBLISHED: 17 July 2013

Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Plan

In the event of a disaster or emergency you are your family should be prepared to be self-sufficient for 72 hours. In addition to home and car Emergency Kits, you should have an Emergency Plan for your home and place of work. If you have pets, children or individuals with special needs or disabilities, you may need to take additional steps to ensure safety during an emergency. For additional planning guides visit the Government of Canada’s Get Prepared website.
Identify risks: Know the risks associated with your region and community. Visit the Canadian Disaster Database to read about the different risks across Canada, visit or call 1 800 O-Canada (1 800 622 6232) to learn more.
Floods are the most frequent natural disaster in Canada and although we often associate flooding with warm weather, flood can happen at any time of the year. Heavy rainfall, rapid melting of thick snow pack, ice jams, or the failure of natural or man-made dams can cause flooding[1]. To learn more about the type of emergency events that impact your region use the Canadian Disaster Database.

 Make a Household Plan

  • Locate emergency exits in your home for each room. Practice your household escape routes at least once a year.
  • Identify evacuations routes out of your neighbourhood in case you have to evacuate quickly.
  • Assign roles to each member of the household (i.e one person in charge of gathering the pets or calling emergency contacts)
  • Teach members of your household how to shut off water, electricity and gas safely. Consider installing large signs near gas/water/electrical shut off valves or switches
  • Learn how to open a garage door manually in case you are without power
  • Designate a meeting place:

– Choose a safe place near home (in case of an event like a fire)

– Also choose a safe place outside immediate neighbourhood (in the event of evacuation)

– Identify evacuation routes in case of evacuation

  • Have a family communication plan and include the following phone numbers in your Emergency Plan:

– Phone number of a contact (friend or family member) in the same town/city

– Phone number of a contact in a different town/city

Make a Workplace Plan 

  • Learn about the emergency plans at your workplace. Locate fire alarms, emergency exits, meeting points and the designated safety personnel or floor wardens.
  • Consider keeping some basic supplies like water and non-perishable food at your desk in case you are forced to stay a work

Workplace Safety

Weather conditions can impact public transit routes, school buses, and schedules. Check in with your transit provider or school district to see if you have been impacted.
For workplace/ employment information during a State of Emergency (

Basic Emergency Kit

The Government of Canada recommends individuals prepare to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours. Be sure to include non-perishable food, bottled water, special needs items like prescription medication and infant formula, extra keys and cash[12].

Checklist Items
Flashlight/lamp: battery operated or wind up
Candles and waterproof matches
Battery-operated/wind up radio 
Food: choose food will stay fresh for at least 12 months (canned/dried food, energy bars, crackers, cereals, canned juice, trail mix) and replace yearly. 
Water: at least 4L/person and be sure to include small bottles for carrying 
Manual Can Opener
First Aid Kit 
Extra Batteries 
Cash: include small bills and change 
Special Needs Items: prescription medication, diapers or formula for infants, equipment for people with disabilities
Cell phone charger
Pet food and essential supplies 
Clothing: change of clothes, waterproof/weather appropriate clothing, spare shoes/socks
Emergency Documents*

Click here to download a Basic Emergency Kit checklist

  • Copies of important documents should also be included in an Emergency Kit inside a waterproof container. Be sure to include the following[2]:
  • Legal documents (birth and marriage certificates, wills, passports, contracts)
  • Insurance policies
  • Credit card/s
  • Prepaid phone cards
  • Copy of your emergency plan and contact information including in-town and out-of-town contact information

Other Emergency Supplies

Other helpful supplies include[3]:

Checklist Items
Two additional litres of water per person per day: Place in sturdy containers and do not burn unattended
Candles and matches or lighter: Place 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
Hand sanitizer
Toilet paper
Garbage bags
Household chlorine bleach or water purifying tablets
Basic tools: Hammer, pliers, wrench, screwdrivers, work gloves, pocket knife
Small fuel-operated stove and fuel
Whistle: To attract attention
Duct tape

Additional but not essential

Alberta Emergency Management Agency also recommends including toys if you have small children in an Emergency Kit as familiar items may bring comfort during stressful times. Additionally, consider sealing liquid items in sealable plastic bags to avoid spills.

Emergency Car Kit

Emergency preparedness should also include your vehicle. Items found in the home Emergency Kit should also be included in an Emergency Car Kit with a few important additions[4]

Winter Driving Emergency Kit

Checklist Items
Food: non-perishable
Water: in plastic bottles so they won’t break if frozen
Extra clothing: including shoes, socks and weather appropriate clothing 
First Aid Kit: include a seatbelt cutter
Small shovel, scraper and snowbrush
Candle: in a deep can and matches
Wind-up flashlight
  Copy of emergency plan and personal documents

 Click here to download an Emergency Car kit checklist 

Additional Truck Emergency Tools

Checklist Items
Sand, salt or non-clumping cat litter
Anti-freeze or washer fluid
Tow rope
Jumper cables
Fire extinguisher
Warning light or road flares
Basic Tools including a hammer, wrench, work gloves and pocket knife. 

Camping, Hiking & Backpacking

  • Bring enough water to stay hydrated throughout the trip. Unless you have a purification kit, don’t drink water from rivers or lakes incase of water-borne parasites or microorganisms.

  • Check current and predicted weather conditions before leaving. Understand approaching storm conditions. During lightning storms, avoid bare ridge tops, exposed places, lone trees, streams and rocks.

  • Travel with one or more partner(s). Groups of four is strongly advised whenever possible, but specifically when traveling into remote areas.

  • Research intended travel area and schedule approximate travel time to avoid arriving in the dark.

  • Know your environment and understand potential risks associated with the activity. Always ensure you’re within your comfort zone

  • Wear proper safety equipment and ensure it correctly (i.e. helmet, life jacket, avalanche beacon etc.)

  • Learn basic first aid to help if injuries or symptoms of illness occur.

  • Do not mix alcohol or drug use with any sport. Judgement, balance and agility are all reduced with alcohol consumption.

[1]  Basic Emergency Kit. Get Prepared, Government of Canada. Retrieved from:
[2] 72 Hour Emergency Kit. Alberta Emergency Management Agency. Retrieved from:
[3] Additional Emergency Supplies. Get Prepared,Government of Canada. Retrieved from:
[4] Emergency Car Kit. Get Prepared, Government of Canada. Retrieved from: