Emergency Kits and Supplies
In the event of an emergency or disaster you will need some basic supplies. Many items may already be in your home so it may just be a question of taking some time and putting them together to create your emergency kit.
How to Build an Emergency Kit
CHECKLIST One-of-a-Kind Items
These are items you will need to gather if you have to evacuate on short notice. Attach this list to your grab and go bag and know exactly where the items are located in your home and, be sure everyone in your household is aware of this list too.
CHECKLIST Pets and Animal Services
These are items to include in an emergency kit for your pet or service animal. It is ideal to check the kit twice a year to restock and make sure food, water and medication are fresh.
- Have alternate sources of lighting, such as flashlights, headlamps, camping lanterns, battery operated candles. If using candles as an alternate lighting source, NEVER leave unattended and always place on a sturdy safe surface away from fire-fueling materials.
- Have extra batteries available for any battery powered lighting sources as well as battery-powered radios.
In the event of an emergency, grocery store and supermarket supplies will diminish quickly. While most emergencies extend over a few days, plan to prepare meals for yourself and your family for at least seven days with no running water, power or natural gas.
- Consume your perishables first. Check the temperature of food in your refrigerator and freezer by using a metal stem digital food thermometer to measure the temperature of the food. Spoiled food does not always smell or look bad. If in doubt, throw it out.
- Customize meals to suit the needs of your household and to meet any dietary needs; however, plan for alternate cooking methods and fuel. Never use gas ranges, propane heaters, BBQ's or camp stoves for indoor heating or cooking. Carbon monoxide gas can build and cause suffocation.
- Give special consideration to any family members with special needs, such as babies, young children, pregnant women, elderly and ill.
- Consider how family members/friends outside your household might cope. Would any other family members join your household in an emergency situation (parents, grandparents, neighbours)? If so, include them in your planning.
- Select a variety of foods with a shelf life of at least six months.
- Have supply of plastic/paper plates, cups, utensils and paper towels, etc.
- Include a manual can opener.
- Rotate your food supply every six months (March and November).
A one week pre-stocked emergency drinking water supply should be kept in your home. Most people will need to drink two litres or eight glasses of water each day. However, everyone's needs differ, depending upon age, physical condition, activity, diet and climate. Hot weather and increased activity can increase this amount. The amount of water will also vary depending on the total amount of juices, soups, other drinks and high moisture foods available.
- Additional water will be required for food preparation and hygiene (handwashing, tooth brushing, etc.) so consider storing an extra litre or two per day.
- In general, store four litres per person/per day of expected need and don't forget about your pets!
- Storing at least a three-day supply is recommended, but consider a one week supply if you have space for it.
If you do not have a pre-stock emergency water supply, please follow the guidelines of BC Health on how to disinfect drinking water.
What is the best source of emergency drinking water?
Your best option for emergency drinking water is commercially bottled water purchased ahead of time, also the most convenient:
- Has an expiry date of two years (located on the cap or near the neck of the bottle).
- Is free of disease-causing organisms, harmful chemicals, objectionable colour and odour.
- Ready to drink.
- Can be taken with you if you have to evacuate.
After a major disaster like an earthquake, water and sewage lines could be damaged, leaving you with no water or working toilets. It is important to find sanitary ways to dispose of human waste.
- Health officials advise us to separate solid waste from liquid waste. Urine is not considered a serious health problem. Collect urine in a separate container and dispose of it in green space.
- Feces on the other hand, are a source of many disease causing bacteria, including cryptosporidia and cholera and must be disposed of more carefully to prevent outbreak of disease.
- You can use your existing toilet as container to collect feces:
- Duct tape the handle of the toilet to prevent flushing.
- Lift the toilet seat.
- Scoop out the water in the bowl.
- Line the toilet bowl with a double large green garbage bag (to protect against leakage).
- Put the seat back down.
- After you use the toilet, cover the feces in the bag with several cups of hydrated lime which could be purchased from local nurseries. Hydrated lime will control odour, bacteria and flies which can spread disease. It also helps to dry out the waste in the bag so that when it is time to dispose of this waste, it will be easier to handle. Use rubber gloves when handling lime.
- Tie the bags tightly and store temporarily in an outside dry garbage can with a tightfitting lid.
- Listen to Public Health bulletins for instructions on how the bags should ultimately be disposed.
After any disaster, stress will be high and immunity low. Children, the elderly and people with chronic health problems or weakened immune systems will be more vulnerable and seriously affected by communicable diseases. Health officials stress handwashing is the single most important practice which can protect you and your family members from getting a communicable disease.
Kits and Grab-n-Go Bags
- Grab-n-Go Bag - Designed to be readily available in the event of having to leave your premises quickly.
- Home Emergency Kit - Designed to sustain you and your household members in your home for a minimum of three days, preferably a week.
- Vehicle Emergency Kit - Designed to sustain you and your vehicle and members in your vehicle.
- Workplace Emergency Kit - Designed to sustain you in the event of an emergency at your place of employment.
- Pet Emergency Kit - Designed to sustain pets in the event of an emergency.