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Emergency Survival

Emergencies and disasters can happen at any time. Utilities can be out, roads closed, and crucial supplies unavailable. While local, provincial and federal officials prepare for emergencies, individuals can plan to be prepared at home and at work.

With increased levels of fear and anxiety throughout Canada and the world, it makes sense to prepare for the unexpected. Everyone should be prepared to take care of themselves and their families for up to three days in the event of an emergency or disaster. For example, it could take that long to clear roads due to a severe winter storm.

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​The following are recommended guidelines to assist you in gathering items you should have on hand. Everyone in your family should know where these items are stored.

Finally, if you are ever in an emergency situation, Don't Panic. People have survived three days without water and three weeks without food. Your home can take three hours or more to cool off completely in the winter.

For more information, please visit Checklists

Think of any special needs your family might have and include any other items you would need. Here are some suggestions:


  • diapers

  • bottled milk

  • formula and food

  • toys

  • crayons and paper

Other family members

  • one week's supply of any required medications

  • extra eye glasses

  • batteries for medical appliances

  • extra oxygen cylinder (if required)

  • copies of prescriptions


  • three day supply of food and water

Emergency food and water kit:

Have at least a three-day supply of food and water. Choose ready-to-eat foods that don't need refrigeration. Also keep in mind that if the utilities are out and you have no alternate cooking source, you should select foods that won't require cooking.

  • three day supply of water - at least four litres per person per day - two for drinking and two for food preparation, hygiene and dish washing. Keep a supply of water purification tablets as well.

  • canned food: soups, stews, baked beans, meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, fruit

  • pasta

  • crackers and biscuits

  • honey

  • peanut butter

  • syrup

  • jam

  • salt and pepper

  • sugar

  • instant coffe and tea

Replace canned and dry goods once a year.


  • knives, forks, spoons

  • disposable cups and plates

  • manual can opener, bottle opener

  • fuel stove and fuel (follow manufacturer's instructions) - do not use a barbecue indoors

  • waterproof matches and plastic garbage bags

  • pocket knife or multi tool

Survival Equipment Kit:

  • flashlight and batteries (in case the lights go out)

  • radio and batteries or crank radio (so you can listen to news bulletins)

  • spare batteries (for radio and flashlight)

  • first-aid kit

  • candles and matches/lighter

  • extra car keys and cash (including coins/cards for telephone)

  • important papers (identification for everyone, personal documents such as insurance papers)

  • food and bottled water (See "Emergency food and water kit")

  • clothing and footwear (one change of clothes per person)

  • blankets or sleeping bags (one blanket or sleeping bag per person)

  • toilet paper and other personal supplies such as shampoo, hairbrush, tooth brush and toothpaste, soap and a towel and face cloth (one for each person)

  • medication

  • backpack/duffel bag (or something else to carry the emergency survival kit in, in case you have to evacuate)

  • whistle (in case you need to attract someone's attention)

  • playing cards, games

Car Survival Equipment Kit:

  • shovel

  • sand, salt or kitty litter

  • traction mats

  • tow chain

  • compass

  • cloth or roll of paper towels

  • warning light or road flares

  • extra clothing and footwear

  • emergency food pack

  • axe or hatchet

  • booster cables

  • ice scraper and brush

  • road maps

  • matches and a 'survival' candle in a deep can (to warm hands, heat a drink or use as an emergency light)

  • fire extinguisher

  • methyl hydrate (for fuel line and windshield de-icing)

  • flashlight

  • first-aid kit with seatbelt cutter

  • blanket (special 'survival' blankets are best)

Emergency Information:

911 Name, Telephone Number and/or Contact Information

  • my name

  • my phone number

  • my address

  • my city

  • nearest intersection to my house

Emergency Telephone Number and/or Contact Information:

  • ambulance

  • fire department

  • police 

  • hospital

  • poison control

  • children's hospital

  • family doctor

  • dentist

  • mother's work

  • father's work 

  • other's work

  • other relatives

  • neighbour

  • out-of-town contact person 

  • out-of-province contact person

  • babysitter

  • daycare centre

  • pre-school

  • elementary school

  • high school

  • gas company

  • hydro company 

  • telephone company

  • electrician

  • plumber

  • handyman

  • mechanic

  • family lawyer

  • accountant

  • bank or financial advisor

  • insurance agent

  • landlord

  • emergency roadside assistance

  • taxi

  • bus

  • road conditions

  • snow removal

  • animal control

  • weather reports

  • disaster clean-up company

  • crisis hotline

  • social worker

  • health department

  • tele-health

  • others