Personal Emergency Preparedness
Disasters take many forms: floods, winter storms, chemical spills, forest fires, earthquakes etc. When disaster strikes, the best protection is knowing what to do.
Be prepared to be on your own without help for 72 hours or more whether you are at home, in your car or at work. Securing your home and putting together an emergency kit is vital - it will give you peace of mind to know that your family is prepared.
Along with everything below, make sure you have a Personal Emergency Supply kit for your home, workplace, and vehicle.
Household Emergency Plan
Develop an emergency plan to help you and your family know what to do after an emergency or if you need to
evacuate your home or neighbourhood. It will take you about 20 minutes to prepare your plan.
When creating your plan:
- Assign specific tasks to family member like gathering pets, collecting the supplies, providing first aid, etc.
- List the most important items to be taken with you and only those that can be hand carried.
- Mark the date you prepared your plan and update it as changes occur.
- Keep your plan in a place that’s easy to find and to remember (e.g. with your emergency kit) as well as other locations such as your car, work and on your computer.
- Make sure everyone in the household knows about the plan. Practice it with everyone at least once a year.
Make sure you and everyone in your family/household knows all the escape routes:
- Draw a floor plan of your home showing main and alternate exits from each room, as well as locations of extinguishers, water and gas valves, electrical box, emergency supplies, and an outdoor meeting place.
- If you live in an apartment, plan to use the stairs rather than the elevators. If you would be unable to use the stairs, notify Surrey Fire Service ahead of time so that the information is put on file.
- Make note of escape route options from your neighbourhood.
Identify a safe place near the home (e.g. at a neighbour’s) and away from the home (e.g. at a relative’s home, local school or church) where everyone should meet if they have to leave during an emergency.
The meeting place near your home should be on the same side of the street as your home, so you don’t need to cross the street into traffic or in front of emergency vehicles.
Emergency Contact Information
Create an emergency contact list with all of the following identified. Leave a copy close to your telephone and in your emergency kits at home, work and vehicle. Make sure everyone has a copy in their wallet or programmed into their cell phone.
Local emergency numbers
- Fire, police, ambulance: 911
- Poison control
Have the following for Family contacts and friend/neighbour contacts:
Include information for all household members other and relatives.
- Phone numbers: home, work, cell
- Email address
- Home address
Work/school/child care contacts
- Employer name, address and phone numbers
- School name, address and phone numbers
- Daycare or child care provider name, address and phone numbers
- Designated person for pickup of children from school or daycare – name, address and phone numbers
Out of town contacts
Plan for each family member to contact the same out-of-town contact person in the event of an emergency. Everyone should call this person, tell them where they are and how they are doing, and arrange a future check-in time.
Choose a contact who lives far enough away (e.g. out of province) that he or she will probably not be affected by the same event. Choose someone with voicemail or an answering machine, and who lives in a long-distance area since long-distance service is often easier to obtain after a disaster.
If you are new to Canada or don’t have an out-of-town contact person, make arrangements through friends, cultural associations or community organizations.
Important Documents and Records
When disaster strikes, you may need to access important contact numbers and household documents.
Keep copies in two secure locations, such as a safety deposit box, fireproof safe or watertight bags in the freezer.
You could also exchange documents with others you trust or upload to a secure location on the internet (e.g. secure cloud storage).
Gather copies of information such as:
- House insurance policies, photos/receipts to assist with claims, and contact information
- Life insurance or other policies and contact information
- Tax records
- Birth certificates
- Health records and personal medical information such as prescriptions (medication and eye), allergies and special needs
- Social insurance numbers
- Passport numbers
- Bank/financial account numbers
- Vehicle make, plate number and identification number
- Utility companies: gas, hydro, internet, telephone
- Lawyer contact information
- Doctor, dentist and other medical service provider contact information
- Landlord contact information
- Security alarm company contact information