An emergency preparedness kit could save your life or the lives of your loved ones during or after a disaster. Hard to argue with that.
But over half of all Canadians don’t have a kit, according to the CBC.
If you’re in that half, here’s what you need to know about having an emergency preparedness kit.
Severe storms, flooding, extended power outages, even a terrorism attack: these are among the potential emergency situations in Ontario flagged by the Government of Canada’s Get Prepared organization. It says that while all levels of government are prepared for emergencies, a crisis strains official resources and it’s up to individuals and families to do their part. That includes being self-reliant for up to 72 hours.
You can’t be self-reliant in an emergency without the proper supplies. Those range from clean water and non-perishable food to a battery-operated or crank radio, extra cash and medication.
The Red Cross, among others, itemizes what should be in your emergency kit.
The Red Cross also sells emergency preparedness kits for one or more people. A basic kit for one person starts at $89 and includes a mylar blanket, food bars, a multi-function knife, waterproof matches and many more items.
You can also purchase a basic survival kit from the Salvation Army for $53.50 or find them in various retail stores.
If you have pets, remember to include food and medication for them.
A purchased kit generally comes in a backpack or small bag for easy transportation if you need to leave your home. It’s important to keep the kit in a readily accessible spot like a closet near your front door and for everyone in your family to know where it is.
A kit with expired medication or stale food isn’t going to do you much good, so check and update your kit every six months. Checking when you change the batteries in your smoke alarm is one way to ensure you don’t forget.
More on emergency preparedness
Have an emergency plan: Emergencies often occur when families aren’t together, so you need a plan to ensure everyone is safe and connected. Learn more here.
People with disabilities and special needs: Mobility, service animals and other circumstances may need to be considered in emergency planning. More information.
Power outages, floods and general safety: Find more information on these topics, including how to protect your property against flooding.
Originally published August 25, 2019