Make an Emergency Plan

You and your family should be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least seven (7) days without outside assistance. We encourage you to plan for 7 days, because we know that in the event of a major disaster, it might take longer than three days for help to arrive from the mainland.

If you are well prepared, you will be in a better position to help your family, friends and neighbours. Most people survive disasters. Following a disaster, your family's safety, health, comfort and general well-being may be entirely in your hands.

Contact Information and Reunification Planning

Thinking ahead will help reduce the stress of an emergency. Plan how you will connect with your family in case of an emergency.

  1. Make a phone list and include an out-of-area contact, if you find yourself separated from family each family member can check-in with the out-of-area contact.
  2. Pick a meeting place, where you'll meet your family members during an emergency. If gathering at home is the ideal, but you can't get there identify a secondary reunification spot.

Additional Planning Considerations

  • Places to stay in case you cannot access your home (Friends or relative's house, RV, boat or hotel)
  • Safe exit routes from your home and work to the reunification spot.
  • Understand risks in the Region.
  • Locations and proper use of important equipment such as fire extinguishers, gas and water valves, floor drain, and the electrical box.
  • Consider the unique needs of those who may rely on you for assistance: children, pets, aging parents, and those with disabilities.
  • Assemble your household emergency get and prepare a grab-and-go bag for each person/pet in your household.

Planning for your Children

If you have young children, you need to consider what happens if you can't make it to their school or daycare. 

  • Ask your child's school or daycare about their emergency plans.
  • Notify the school or day care of who's authorized to pick-up your children and make sure your children know as well.

Include your children as you create your household emergency plan. Talk to your kids about emergencies. Be honest and straight-forward. Teaching them the basics of staying safe will make emergencies less stressful because they will be prepared and empowered.

For additional information and resources about Caring for Children in a Disaster visit:

Planning for People with Disabilities

Having a disability means you likely need to make special considerations when planning for an emergency. Some extra considerations are:

  • Your ability to communicate may be restricted.
  • Your surroundings may change and look unfamiliar.
  • Your service animal or guide dog may be hurt or frightened.
  • Your help may be impacted by stress and confusion.

It is important to create a trusted support network ("buddy system") with family, friends and neighbours. Identify at least three people to assist during an emergency.

  • Make arrangements for your support network to immediately check on you after a disaster.
  • Exchange important keys and any relevant medical information.
  • Discuss any health conditions or medications and show them how to operate specialized medical or mobility equipment.
  • Show them where you keep your emergency supplies.
  • Share copies and discuss your emergency plan. Download this Prepare Yourself: Worksheet Special Considerations and add this information to your grab and go bag.

Additional Preparedness Considerations for People with a Disability:
  • Have an at-home kit available, and a grab-and-go bag in case you must evacuate.
  • If you require continued service from a service provider, ask each provider for a summary of their emergency plans so you know what to expect following a disaster.
  • If you have a service animal, make sure you include them in your emergency plan.

For additional resources for people with disabilities please visit:






Planning for Seniors

Seniors may need to make special considerations when planning for an emergency. It is important to create a trusted support network ("buddy system") with family, friends and neighbours. Identify at least three people to assist during an emergency.

  • Make arrangements for your support network to immediately check on you after a disaster.
  • Exchange important keys and any relevant medical information.
  • Discuss any health conditions or medications and show them how to operate specialized medical or mobility equipment.
  • Show them where you keep your emergency supplies.
  • Share copies and discuss your emergency plan. Download this Prepare Yourself: Worksheet Special Considerations and add this information to your grab and go bag.

Additional Preparedness Considerations for Seniors:
  • Have an at-home kit available, and a grab-and-go bag in case you must evacuate.
  • Remove or properly secure hazards in your home that could fall or cause injury.
  • Develop a backup plan for life-sustaining equipment so it will work in the event of a power outage, which may include buying an emergency generator. Ensure you know how to properly operate and fuel your equipment.
  • If you use oxygen, ensure the tank is secure.
  • If you use mobility aids, such as a wheelchair or walker, keep them near you at all times or have extra walking aids in other areas of your home.
  • A whistle or personal alarm to call for help.
  • Place a battery-powered nightlight or flashlight in each room.
  • If you rely on a prescription, talk to your primary care provider about how to keep an extra supply or valid prescription in your emergency kit or grab-and-go bag.
  • If you require continued service from a service provider, ask each provider for a summary of their emergency plans so you know what to expect following a disaster.

For additional resources and tools to help older adults and their caregivers prepare for emergencies and disasters please visit:

Planning for your pets/animals

Pets are an important and loving part of your household and are also affected by emergencies. Making arrangements before the chaos of an emergency can increase your pet's chances of survival and greatly reduce the fear and anxiety your pet will experience.

  1. Make sure your pet has a collar and an up-to-date licence or ID tag;
  2. Develop a buddy system with neighbours, friends, or relatives to care for or evacuate your pet if you are not home when disaster strikes; and 
  3. Prepare your pet its own emergency survival kit with the following items: 
  • Food and water supply for 7 days
  • Leash or harness 
  • Food and water dishes 
  • Pet carrier 
  • Litter pan/litter or plastic bags and scooper 
  • Treats, a favourite toy and a small towel with your scent on it 
  • Copy of vaccination records 
  • Medications and basic first aid supplies; and
  • Photos of your pet(s) (for identification).   
To learn more about preparing for your animal please visit: 

Preparing your Home, Apartment, Condo or Townhome

Know Your Space and Make It Safe!

Learning about your home before a disaster will make you and your family safer when one happens. Being proactive before disaster strikes will help protect you and your property.

For a quick reference guide to preparing your space you can download Know Your Space Make It Safe from the Prepare Yourself Guide.

Secure Your Space

  • Anchor items such as medical equipment, heavy appliances, bookcases, pictures and hanging plants.
  • Place heavy objects on low shelves.
  • Move beds away from heavy picture frames and windows.
  • Remove barriers such as bookcases which may block your safe exit after an earthquake.
  • Install security night lights to provide emergency lighting if the power goes off.
  • Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors

Home/Tenants Insurance

Purchasing homeowner or tenant insurance is an important step toward emergency preparedness and disaster recovery. Insurance helps cover out-of-pocket expenses as a result of an emergency (likely referred to as Alternate Living Expenses in your policy). In the long-term, insurance will help fund the costs of repairing or replacing your home and contents, providing some financial security.

  • Keep your insurance coverage up to date.
  • Understand your homeowner or tenant insurance policy in detail including what damages are covered, whether your policy includes 'replacement value' or 'alternate living expenses' coverage.
  • Find out what is NOT covered in your policy, not all damages are insured.
  • Understand your insurance deductible, and
  • Document your belongings with receipts or digital files in a safe location such as a safety deposit box or a digitally secure internet site.
  • Keep important insurance documents with your emergency kit for easy access.

For more information about insurance coverage contact your insurance provider or visit the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Fire Extinguishers

Place fire extinguishers where they can be easily accessed, make sure you know how to use it, and make sure it is up to date. Contact your local fire department to learn more about fire safety and prevention.

Utilities

Everyone in your household should know where utilities are located and how to shut them off safely including:

  • Main circuit breaker, to reduce risk of fire damage when power is restored following an outage.
  • Water line that enters your home.
  • Fuel Oil Tanks
  • Propane Tanks
  • Natural Gas

Multi-family Housing

Download the PreparedBC: Guide for Apartments, Condos and Townhomes to learn more about emergency preparedness in multi-family complexes. This guide will help you join forces with your neighbours, when you're in it together, you're stronger.

Emergency Supplies

Be prepared for seven (7) days without assistance, by assembling an emergency kit, ensuring you have enough non-perishable food and water for each member of your household. Visit our Get a Kit page for more information.

Planning for your small business

A continuity plan for your business will help ensure that the critical functions of your business or organization will be able to provide for your customers in the event of an emergency. 

Readiness can be as simple as having an emergency preparedness plan, setting up procedures to help your business recover and having emergency supplies on hand. Knowing what to do when a disaster strikes will help you better control the situation and be in a better position to recover more quickly.  

To learn more about business preparedness please visit: 

Why 7 days?

We encourage you to be prepared for 7 days, while others might suggest a minimum of 3 days, because here in the Capital Region we are separated from the Mainland by water, and it may take more than 3 days for help to reach us in a large disaster such as an earthquake.

Additional Resources

Pets are an important and loving part of your household and are also affected by emergencies. Learn more about Emergency Preparedness for Pets.

If you or someone close to you has a disability, you likely need to take preparedness action above and beyond the "basics." Please visit PreparedBC to download a Resources for People with Disabilities Guide, or visit Disability Alliance BC to learn more about inclusive emergency planning and response.

Do you have a small business? Visit PreparedBC to download a Guide for Small Businesses and learn more about preparing for a business interruption and how to keep your employees safe.

Additional information about business preparedness is available from Emergency Preparedness for Industry and Commerce Council, the Insurance Bureau of Canada, Business Resilience (New Zealand), and Ready.Gov (United States).