As natural disasters are hitting Canadians with increasing frequency and severity, emergency preparedness is more important than ever. Learn how you can get prepared.
- Create an emergency plan and kit
- Secure your home against severe weather
- Maintain a current home inventory
- Be prepared for a business emergency
Create an emergency plan and kit
Wildfires. Tornados. Ice storms. Hurricanes. Disasters can strike anytime and anywhere. Increase your family’s disaster readiness by creating and practicing a home emergency and evacuation plan. Here are some key elements to keep in mind:
Ensure everyone knows where emergency supplies and equipment are stored
Include the following items in your basic emergency kit:
water – 2 to 4 litres per person – small bottles are easier to carry in the event of an evacuation order
canned food, energy bars and other non-perishables
manual can opener
flashlight and extra batteries
phone, tablet and/or laptop chargers
battery-powered or wind-up radio and extra batteries
first aid kit
prescription medications, infant formula and equipment for people with disabilities (keep these updated to ensure they are not expired)
extra keys for your house and car
cash, including small bills and change
hard copy of your emergency plan, including in-town and out-of-town contacts and their coordinates
Talk to your children about what to do if they’re away from home during an emergency and know their school or daycare emergency policies
Consider specific precautions for anyone in your household with special needs
Pre-arrange accommodation for your pets, as they may be prohibited in hotels and public shelters
Make digital copies of important documents, such as birth certificates, passports, wills, financial documents and insurance policies
Secure your home against severe weather
There are many things you can do to help prepare your home for severe weather events. Here are some long and short term actions you can take to be prepared.
Install impact-resistant windows and doors, including garage doors. Door frames should be securely anchored to wall framing, and double doors secured with head and foot bolts
Anchor heavy objects within your home that could fall over and cause injury
Consider keeping a portable power generator and extra fuel on hand to use in the event of a power failure. Use caution and always use your fuel powered generator and store fuel outside or in a well-ventilated area
Perform regular home maintenance on the chimney, roofing, heating system, plumbing, electricals and landscape grading
Install or maintain a backflow valve that helps prevent sewage in an overloaded main sewer line from backing up into your basement. Check with your municipality before installing a backflow valve
Ensure downspouts extend at least 6 feet away from your basement walls, and make sure that soil is sloped away from your home. This helps prevent basement flooding or seepage
Store toxic or flammable products away from heat sources. Avoid storing them in the basement
Speak with your insurance representative about available optional coverages for losses specific to disasters in your region
Maintain a current home inventory
A thorough inventory of your home's contents and the associated value of the contents will help you and your insurance representative confirm adequate coverage and help in the event of a loss. If you need to make a claim, your home inventory will help ensure no personal property lost or damaged is left out. Consider the following when preparing and/or updating your home inventory:
Keep the bills, receipts, warranties and instruction manuals for your more valuable possessions – these can serve as proof of ownership and help in determining replacement cost.
Store your records and receipts in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box or a secure online option.
Review your home inventory every year and when you make new purchases. The value of your possessions will increase the more you acquire.
Take photographs or video of all of your most valuable possessions.
Store records of credit cards, taxes, government and other important household documents in an off-site location.
Be prepared for a business emergency
Expecting the unexpected is an important part of risk management. An emergency preparedness plan is essential. Before disaster strikes, here’s how to help safeguard your business:
Check that your insurance policy meets your organization’s needs. Speak to your insurance representative and ensure adequate coverage and limits are in place for your office, stock, equipment, inventory, company vehicles and other assets.
Create a basic emergency plan
Identify natural or man-made risks and issues your business could face
Take action to prevent and/or manage situations that may arise
Document evacuation routes, off-site meeting locations and emergency exits
Appoint a "go-to person" who has access to passwords and codes
Assign employees to maintain first aid and emergency supplies
Hold an annual exercise to keep employees familiar with the plan
Ensure an emergency kit is stocked with appropriate supplies
Have a plan for emergency backup power.
Protect data with backups using off-site or web-based options.
Secure the premises. Install fire suppression sprinklers and impact-resistant windows and doors. Fasten bookcases, cabinets and large objects to walls, ensure heavy objects are anchored from falling.
Establish a business continuity plan to help keep your business running during or immediately following a disruption. Be sure to include:
Governance. Assign people to be responsible for maintaining and activating the plan.
Business impact analysis. Know how services are interrelated as well as internal and external interdependencies.
Plans, measures and arrangements to keep critical operations running in the short and long-term
Readiness procedures. Use training and scenario exercise to prepare you and your team members for an emergency event.
Quality assurance techniques. Ensure the plan covers the initial response, incident management, communications, operations management, recovery and restoration.
Review and update your emergency and business continuity plans at least every year. Your plans will need to be adjusted to accommodate any changes in your business.