Emergency Preparedness at Home
When emergencies happen, the best thing you can do is have a plan and be prepared. Having a plan in place will allow you to respond quickly and protect your family and home as best as possible. It’s important to understand the risks of disasters and emergencies in your area, so you can be ready for anything. Floods are among the most frequent natural disasters in Canada, but depending where you’re located, you could be at risk for wildfires, tornadoes, ice storms and more. On a more personal level, it’s also important to be prepared for home emergencies such fires or power outages. Take a look at how to prepare for an emergency at home.
Make a Plan
If an emergency happens in your community, it can take time for emergency workers to reach you. You should be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for a minimum of 72 hours. In the case that your family is not together when the emergency occurs, plan how to meet or how to contact one another, and what to do in different situations. Identify an evacuation route from your neighbourhood if you need to leave in a hurry, and pick out safe places for your family to meet if you can’t go home or need to evacuate.
If an emergency such as a fire happens at home, it’s important everyone knows where the emergency exits are. Draw up a floor plan that shows all possible exits from each room. Plan a main exit route and an alternate exit route from each room and have fire escape ladders for rooms on higher floors.
Safety at Home
Make sure you have working fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers and a fully-stocked first-aid kit at home. If you live in an apartment, know where the fire alarms and at least two emergency exits are located. You should have a fire extinguisher on every level of your home, as well as in your kitchen and everyone in your home should know where to find and how to work a fire extinguisher. Older children and adults should know how to turn off your home’s water, electricity and gas and teach children how and when to dial 9-1-1.
What to Pack in Your Emergency Bag
In an emergency, you’ll need some basic supplies, and it’s key to have them organized and easy to find. Make sure your kit is easy to carry and that everyone in your house knows where it is. Keep it in an easy-to-reach, accessible place and if you have many people in your household, consider separating these supplies into multiple bags so they’ll be easier to carry.
Food: 3 to 7 day supply of food that won’t spoil, such as canned food, energy bars and dried foods
Water: 4 litres per person per day, for drinking and sanitation
Manual can opener
Phone charger and battery bank
Battery powered or hand cranked flashlight
First-aid kit and medications
Extra car and house keys
Personal toiletry items such as extra contact lenses, toothbrush and toothpaste
Copy of important documents, such as birth certificates and insurance papers
Cash in small bills
Local map with your family meeting place identified
Seasonal clothing and an emergency blanket for each family member
Pen and notepad
Duct tape (to tape windows, doors, air vents)