Kim Court, our resident catastrophe expert knows a thing or two about preparing for emergencies. Between her role as Director of Catastrophe Exposure Analysis and her time living in California where she had to prepare for earthquakes, she knows how to prepare for extreme weather.  For Most Canadians, the biggest threat is severe winter weather, but a proper emergency kit will ensure your family is ready for any type of situation.  “For most events, whether it’s a winter storm, earthquake, or hurricane, you want to have the same kinds of materials available” said Kim.

Kim advises people to “focus on staying warm (or cool, depending on the season), dry, fed, and hydrated for at least 72 hours”. It is best to keep an emergency kit in your home for each family and an additional kit in the trunk of your vehicle in case you get stuck for an extended period of time.  Here’s her list of essential items that every emergency kit needs to have:

Your home emergency kit should include:

  • 2 litres of water per person per day
  • Non-perishable food like canned goods and energy bars
  • Manual can opener
  • First-aid kit
  • Battery powered flashlight and backup batteries
  • Change of clothes and shoes for each family member
  • A warm blanket or sleeping bag for each family member
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Cash in small bills
  • Special needs items (prescription medications, infant formula, pet food etc.)

Your vehicle emergency kit should include:

  • Water (in plastic bottles that won’t crack if frozen)
  • Non-perishable food, such as energy bars
  • Candle in a deep can and matches
  • First aid kit
  • Small shovel, ice scraper and snow brush
  • Antifreeze/windshield washer fluid
  • Jumper/booster cables
  • Warm clothing and shoes
  • Warm blanket
  • Sand, salt or kitty litter
  • De-icer (methyl alcohol)

Yearly checks

It’s a good idea to check your emergency kits once a year to see what requires updating. Having an inventory with expiry dates for your food, water and medical supplies can help you keep track of what needs to be refreshed. Using an app like Cozi on your smartphone or computer can help you keep track and set reminders.

So start getting your emergency kit ready today! If you don’t have all of the items listed above, just start the kit and add to it over time. Or you can purchase a ready-made kit from the Red Cross.

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