Why should I plan ahead?
Emergency services may be unable to reach you for days or weeks after a disaster.
Planning ahead for an emergency is like having insurance on your vehicle or home. You hope you’ll never need it, but you’ll be glad you have it when you do.
What steps do I need to take to prepare?
- Understand the risks in your area. Your local municipality’s website should have this information. Common risks in many areas may include flooding, wildfires, earthquake, tsunami, or extreme weather.
- Get your kit. Build your kit with your hazards in mind: for instance, grab-and-go bags for wildfire risks and shelter-in-place kits for earthquake risks.
- Make a plan. Involve your household in deciding what you’ll do, where you’ll go, and who you’ll contact in the event of an emergency.
What are the most important items to keep in my emergency kit?
- Water. The negative effects of dehydration can take effect quickly and cause permanent damage if left for days.
- Food. You may be able to survive longer without access to food (as long as you have sufficient clean water to drink), but you will need the energy to get through the stressful situation of an emergency.
- Shelter/heat. Our bodies are vulnerable to the elements; no matter the season, make sure you have a way to shelter yourself and warm yourself up as needed. These can be items such as mylar blankets, handwarmers, tents, and tools to build a fire.
You’ll also need first aid supplies that match your level of ability, light to see in case the power goes out, a way to communicate or receive communication from local authorities such as a radio tuned to emergency stations, and sanitation supplies to keep you and your environment as hygienic as possible.
I have a disability. What additional steps do I need to take to prepare?
Part of planning ahead includes putting extra measures in place to accommodate our own or our loved ones’ disabilities.
Depending on your circumstances, you may need to make additional arrangements or add more items to your emergency supply. For instance:
- Those with special dietary needs may have to stock up on emergency food they can eat, such as gluten-free options for people with Celiac disease
- People who require a mobility aid such as a wheelchair or walker may require assistance to get to shelter, especially in case there is fallen debris or other obstacles
- Deaf or Hard-of-hearing people may need to receive warnings and other important emergency communications via text or other means; keep extra batteries on hand for any hearing aids or similar devices
- Those with vision impairments may require assistance making their way through unfamiliar areas, especially if there are a lot of hazardous obstacles such as debris; store extra glasses or contact lenses in your emergency kit
- People with chronic illnesses may need to keep an additional supply of support items and medication on-hand
Create a network of people who are familiar with your needs and who can assist in the event of an emergency.
For additional tips and information, please see PreparedBC’s Resources for People With Disabilities.
How much food/water do I need for my household?
Note: This is a guideline for reference purposes only; please speak to your healthcare provider and consider your personal circumstances when following them.
We recommend at least 4L of clean water per person per day (2L for drinking, 2L for cooking and hygiene) and 2000 calories of food per person per day.
Prepare for a minimum of 72 hours, but try to build your supply up to at least a week’s worth of food and water in case emergency services cannot reach you.
How to calculate what you need:
Water: Number of People x 4L x Number of Days you want to prepare for.
Food: Number of People x 2000 calories x Number of Days you want to prepare for.
Who is responsible for overseeing emergency preparedness?
Bob Black, a Central Saanich emergency manager for over 20 years, puts it this way:
“All members of the public have a responsibility to prepare themselves for an emergency or disaster. Understand the hazards and risks in your local area. Register for community-alert processes. Have an evacuation plan. Have an evacuation “grab and go” bag. Be aware of your surroundings. Take ownership of your preparedness.” – Times Colonist, 2018
Learn more about who carries the burden of responsibility in this blog post.
I have another question not covered here. Where can I find the answer?
We are Total Prepare, a BC-based company devoted to providing every Canadian household, organization, and business with better emergency preparedness options.
Founded in 2012 in Victoria, BC to provide Canadians with more choices, we have worked with a wide client base including households, schools, small and large businesses, hospitals, first responders, and all levels of the Canadian government.
With our diverse product line, high customer satisfaction rate, and in-depth expertise, it’s no wonder our customers love us. And the feeling is mutual!