As part of Emergency Preparedness Week, which runs in early May, citizens are urged to prepare their emergency kits to tide them over in the event of an emergency or disaster.
Emergency Preparedness Week is the perfect time to remind you that Québec is not exempt from the risk of emergencies or disasters. It is therefore important that you be prepared to face the various situations that can occur.
Did you know that it’s your responsibility to show foresight and make sure you can meet your own needs for a period of at least 72 hours? To help you do so, here is a simple, practical memory aid.
What are the possible hazards and emergencies that can occur?
People in any region face a number of natural hazards (natural catastrophes) or probable emergency situations. Examples of probable emergency situations include ice storms, extremely heavy snowfalls, long interruptions in water service (bursting of a major water main), power outages, environmental accidents or hazardous product spills.
Learn more about these hazards and how to deal with them on the Government of Canada’s Get Prepared website.
Why should you be prepared to spend 72 hours at home?
In the event of an emergency situation, you must be able to take care of your family’s needs for the first 72 hours while rescue teams get organized and try to help the most vulnerable members of the population.
In a crisis situation, an emergency kit will enable you to meet your family’s basic needs while you wait for assistance or for essential services to be restored. If you have to evacuate your home, an emergency kit is easy to grab and take with you.
Having a basic supply kit and an emergency plan helps you deal with emergency situations and ensure your safety and that of your family.
According to the Ministry of Public Security, nearly 85% of Canadians recognize the importance of having an emergency kit at home, but only 40% of them actually have one! We are counting on you to improve this statistic!
How should you prepare for an emergency?
To be able to cope with an unforeseeable situation, it is important to have an emergency kit and an emergency plan prepared in advance.
Your emergency kit (located in an easy-to-reach place in your home)
In the event that you have to ensure your safety and that of your family in your home, you should keep an emergency kit containing the essentials listed below readily accessible at all times.
- A bin to hold the articles for the kit
- Drinking water (2 L/person/day, for 72 h)
- Enough non-perishable food to last for at least 72 h
- A manual can opener
- Candles and matches
- Hand-cranked or battery-powered radio (+ replacement batteries)
- Wind-up or battery-powered flashlight (+ replacement batteries)
- First aid kit (antiseptics, painkillers, adhesive bandages, sterile gauze compresses, scissors, etc.)
Your grab-and-go backpack (emergency shelter)
In the event that you have to evacuate your home and go to an emergency shelter, you should have the following essentials ready to go in your backpack:
- Backpack to carry your essentials
- Hygiene articles (toothbrush, towels, soap, garbage bag, etc.)
- A change of clothing
- Cash, including smaller bills and change
- Keys (car and house)
- Personal papers and pieces of ID
- Special baby items (infant formula, disposable diapers, bibs, etc.)
- Special pets items (food, medication, leash, etc.)
- Put these articles in a backpack or bin in advance.
- If you are a person with reduced mobility, remember your cane, walker or wheel chair.
- Emergency kit for your car: Visit the website of the Ministère de la Sécurité publique du Québec to find out what articles this kit should contain.
- Preassembled kit: You can obtain a kit from the Canadian Red Cross, St. John Ambulance, the Salvation Army or certain stores.
Your emergency plan
If you have an emergency plan, you will be ready to face an unforeseeable situation. You will also save yourself time and stress.
Keep the following information in one location that is always within easy reach:
Emergency contact numbers:
- Emergency: 9-1-1
- Info-Santé: 8-1-1
- Centre antipoison du Québec: 1 800 463-5060
- Hydro-Québec: 1 800 790-2424
- Gaz Métropolitain: 1 800 361-8003
- SOPFEU (forest fire): 1 800 463-3389
Important phone numbers:
- Your children’s school
- Insurer (home)
- Insurer (car)
- Contact person near your home
- Contact person outside your immediate neighbourhood
- Other people to be contacted
Home evacuation scenario:
- Identify the emergency exits for each room.
- Know how to turn off the water, electricity and gas, as the case may be.
- In the event of an emergency, avoid taking the elevator.
- Identify two meeting places: one near your home and one outside your immediate neighbourhood
Route to take to leave your home:
- Plan a route to get from your home to a safe destination. Plan an alternate route too in case some roads are impassable.
- Make sure everyone in your home knows the emergency plan.
For more information on how to prepare an emergency plan, visit the Government of Canada’s Get Prepared website.