Weathering the Storm: How to be Prepared for an Emergency

With the increase in severe weather and storms, it’s important to have a plan for what you will do to prepare for and respond to climate related emergencies. If individuals and families take the time to plan and prepare for potential emergencies in their communities, it helps responding agencies address the crisis much more effectively.

Before the Emergency: Know the Risks

Across Canada, we face a number of natural hazards, which can vary from region to region. Knowing what to do is an important part of being prepared. Find out about risks in your region and how to prepare for different situations here.

During the Emergency: Have a Plan

By definition, emergencies happen when we don’t expect them, and often when families are not together. Suddenly, you need to think about your kids at school or elderly parents across town. If phones don’t work, or some neighbourhoods aren’t accessible, what will you do?

Having a family emergency plan will save time and make real situations less stressful.

It will take you about 20 minutes to make a family emergency plan online. You can then print it out. Before starting, consider the following:

  • Safe exits from the home and neighbourhood
  • A meeting place near your home for your family
  • A designated person to pick up children from school or daycare should you be unavailable
  • Out of town contact person(s)
  • Special health needs
  • Location of fire extinguisher, water valve, electrical box, gas valve and floor drain

You can create your own plan online right now here

The Government of Canada has guides for creating Emergency Preparedness Guide for People with Disabilities/Special Needs which can be found here.

Have pets or a service animal? There’s a guide for that too!

Have a Kit

In an emergency, you will need some basic supplies. Be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours.

You may have some of the items already, such as food, water and a battery operated or wind-up flashlight. The key is to make sure they are organized and easy to find. Would you be able to find your flashlight in the dark? Make sure your kit is easy to carry and everyone in the household knows where it is. Keep it in a backpack, duffle bag or suitcase with wheels, in an easy-to-reach, accessible place, such as your front-hall closet. If you have many people in your household, your emergency kit could get heavy.

It’s a good idea to separate some of these supplies in backpacks. That way, your kit will be more portable and each person can personalize his or her own grab-and-go emergency kit.

Creating a 72-hr Emergency Preparedness Kit

For a basic kit you will need:

  • Food that won’t spoil
  • Cash
  • Manual can opener
  • Water – at least 2 litres per person per day
  • Extra keys to your car and house
  • Wind-up or battery powered flashlight (and
    extra batteries)
  • Wind-up or battery powered radio (and
    extra batteries)
  • A copy of your emergency plan and contact

Check your kit once a year and re-stock as needed.

Recommended additional items:

  • Basic tools
  • Whistle
  • Duct tape
  • Toiletries, toilet paper, hand sanitizer
  • Utensils
  • Garbage bags
  • Blankets and extra clothing
  • Bleach or water purification tablets
  • Candles and matches (do not burn unattended)
  • Two more litres of water per person per day
    for cooking and cleaning
  • Small fuel operated camp stove and fuel
    (follow manufacturer’s instructions)

Car and Pet Emergency Kits

Car Kit:

  • Food and Water
  • Blanket
  • Extra clothing and shoes
  • First aid kit
  • Warning light or flares
  • Shovel and scraper
  • Contact numbers
  • Sand, salt or cat litter
  • Antifreeze
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Tow rope
  • Jumper cables
  • Road maps
  • Whistle
  • Flashlight and batteries
Pet Kit:

  • Food and bowls
  • Can opener
  • Water
  • Blanket
  • Toys
  • Current pet photos
  • Litter pan, bags and scoop
  • Medications and medical records
  • Leashes, harness or carrier
  • Information on feeding schedules and
  • List of boarding facilities and
    pet-friendly hotels

In the event of a threatening, imminent or actual emergency situation, the City of Hamilton will provide information and updates to the public through radio, TV and newspaper, find a list here 

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