If there’s anything that this past winter’s extreme weather has taught us, it’s that it’s very important to be prepared for emergencies. Even if you were spared the snow accumulation, extreme cold and havoc-causing ice storms, you likely heard about places that weren’t so lucky, including homes that were flooded or without power for more than a week.
The Government of Canada has a comprehensive website listing information on how to make an emergency plan for your home and family. It includes safety tips, videos and a downloadable emergency preparedness guide.
In the event of a community emergency, it might take emergency workers some time to get to you, or to restore your power. The goal of an emergency preparedness kit is to have enough supplies to take care of you and your family for a minimum of 72 hours without electricity or water.
The Government of Canada recommends that you include the following items in your family’s emergency kit:
- Water—at least two litres (.5 gallons) of water per person per day; include small bottles that can be carried easily in case of an evacuation order
- Food that won’t spoil, such as canned food, energy bars and dried foods (replace food and water once a year)
- Manual can-opener
- Crank or battery-powered flashlight (and extra batteries)
- Crank, battery-powered radio (and extra batteries) or Weatheradio
- First aid kit
- Extra keys to your car and house
- Some cash in smaller bills, such as $10 bills, and change for payphones
- A copy of your emergency plan and contact information
- If applicable, other items such as prescription medication, infant formula, equipment for people with disabilities, or food, water and medication for your pets or service animal (personalize according to your needs)
Recommended additional items:
- Two additional litres (.5 gallons) of water per person per day for cooking and cleaning
- Candles and matches or lighter (place candles in deep, 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
- Garbage bags
- Toilet paper
- Water purifying tablets
- Basic tools (hammer, pliers, wrench, screwdrivers, work gloves, dust mask, pocket knife)
- A whistle (in case you need to attract attention)
- Duct tape (to tape up windows, doors, air vents, etc.)
Put the items in something that’s easy to carry out of your home in case you have to be evacuated—a large duffle bag or suitcase on wheels is perfect—and make sure to let everyone in your family know where the kit is stored. You could also split the kit up into smaller knapsacks so each member of the family has a grab-and-go kit of their own.
It’s also wise to keep a corded phone in your home. Most cordless phones won’t work in the event of a power outage, and cell phones can’t be charged without electricity.
Of course we hope that none of our members are ever faced with an emergency situation, but if you are, we may be able to help. At Foresters, emergency grants are available through our Emergency Assistance Program to provide short term, temporary financial assistance to members affected by a disaster, large-scale emergency or significant personal hardship. This benefit is a one-time, per disaster payment.
410874 CAN/US (04/15)