How to Put Together a Disaster Emergency Kit

Severe weather events seem more frequent than ever before. That has many Canadians thinking about what to do during a crisis, including an evacuation. A great starting point is an emergency plan and emergency kit.

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What You Should Prepare For

As a rule, you should prepare to be on your own for 72 hours. That's three days without electricity, water, or sewage treatment. It sounds scary, but it's a good idea to have what you need just in case the worst happens.

Also, you should turn some thought to the disaster most likely in your region. All kinds of disasters are possible anywhere, especially as weather patterns change. In Alberta, tornadoes, wildfires, and flooding are often top of mind, while in Ontario, tornadoes and flooding are.

You can look up regional information on the Government of Canada's website You can also use this resource to make an emergency plan, so you know what to do in the event you have to think quickly, and your family members are not all in the same place.

What to Put in an Emergency Kit

There are a number of supplies you should keep handy to take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Put your emergency kit items in a suitcase with wheels, or another carrier that's easy to transport. Here's a checklist of what you might need:

  • Two litres of water per person per day. Don't forget extra water for your pets.
  • Non-perishable food. Canned goods (and manual can opener), dried foods, and ready-to-eat packaged snacks are all smart options.
  • Special items for individuals. Infant formula, diapers, mobility aids, and other necessities.
  • Candles and matches in a waterproof container.
  • Battery-powered radio and flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit, prescription medication, and family health information
  • Spare set of house and car keys
  • Cash in small bills
  • Important documents including a copy of your home insurance policy.
  • Your emergency plan including where everyone will meet.
  • Miscellaneous items like a whistle, ziploc bags, garbage bags, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, dust masks, duct tape and moist towels.
  • Extra clothing, emergency blankets, and reflective wear
  • Multi-purpose tools.

This list may seem daunting but putting it together can help prepare yourself mentally and physically in the event of a disaster.

Home Insurance in an Emergency

You may not be completely on your own during a disaster. Your home insurance may include coverage for things like wind damage and ice storms. When you're developing your emergency plan, remember to review your policy so you know what support may be available. In the event of major crises, Canada's insurers may deploy the Community Assistance Mobile Pavilion (CAMP) at emergency centres. CAMP helps evacuees communicate quickly with their insurance companies.

If you're thinking of changing or updating your home insurance policies, check out the choices you have at


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