In an emergency, you will need some basic supplies. You may need to get by without power or tap water. Be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours.
Be prepared. Stay Safe: Emergency kits
It is important that you and your family are prepared for any emergency. We’ve created an easy checklist to follow for assembling a well-stocked emergency kit.
Essential kit items:
- Water – 4L per person per day (for 3 to 7 days)
- Food – canned and non-perishable items (supply for at least 3 days)
- Manual can opener
- Flashlight – hand-crank or battery-powered
- First aid kit
- Radio – hand-crank or battery-powered
- Batteries (various sizes), phone charger battery pack
- Matches, lighter, candles
- Spare keys (house, vehicle)
- Cash (bills & coins) (ATMs & Credit systems may be down)
- Knife or multi-tool
- Rolls of toilet paper
- Hand sanitizer
- Garbage bags/Ziploc bags
- Notepad and pen
- Copies of important papers (wills, insurance policies, ID, etc) Stored in a water-proof container.
- Home/Building emergency plan, with emergency contacts list
Special essentials items:
- Basic toiletries
- Masks, soap, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes
- Medications (prescribed as well as a supply of over-the-counter drugs such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids, or laxatives)
- Medical needs: Back-up medical supplies or equipment – with power source if required
- Children: Infant food/formula, diapers, wipes, bottles, comfort items
- Pets: Pet food, supplies, medication
Additional items to consider:
- Blanket or sleeping bag per person
- Seasonal clothes and footwear, including winter hats & gloves
- Playing cards or small board game(s)
- Water purifying tablets
- Household chlorine bleach
- Roll of duct tape
- Rope or string
- Work gloves
- Fire extinguisher
Storing your kit:
Find a container to store all your items in one place. A backpack or something with wheels will make the container easier to transport.
Find a central, easily accessible place to permanently store your Emergency Kit. You need it to be out of the way of daily life, but easy to access in the event of an emergency. Ensure everyone in your home knows where it is stored.
Check the contents twice a year to refresh food, water and batteries and double check any medications, etc.
Hot tip: You should check your kit twice a year to ensure food safety, battery power, etc. An easy way to remember is to schedule your Emergency Kit refresh to happen when you change your clocks in the spring and fall.
Be prepared. Stay safe: Home emergency plans
Every Ottawa resident should have a home emergency plan in place for their safety. In the middle of an emergency, having all your key information in one place will be a huge time saver and provide peace of mind. Think of this as your playbook for how you and your family will respond during a crisis.
Use this guide to fill out the essential information you need to be prepared for any emergency. Print and keep a copy in your home emergency kit. You may want to store a duplicate copy in another place – like your vehicle or workplace – so you have it on hand when you most need it. Keep an electronic version on your computer (on your computer or smartphone) if you completed your plan online.
Household resident details
List the name and contact information for each person in your household. Include everyone’s health number and medical needs, like medications or medical conditions.
Health and special medical needs
While you may live independently and worry-free most of the time, being prepared for unique needs that may maintain your health in an emergency like a power outage is vital. For example, a power outage with no backup plan could mean a medical device you need is not charged or inoperable.
In addition to your family, establish a support network of neighbours, friends, relatives, healthcare providers, and co-workers who understand your unique needs. Include details in your emergency plan about your medical conditions, allergies, surgeries, family medical history, medications, health screenings, recent vaccinations, emergency contacts and insurance information. Include special needs for all household members in the plan.
Hot tip: Pharmacies may be closed for some time, even after an emergency. Consider talking to your doctor about having an extra two-week supply of medications and medical supplies on hand. Include prescriptions, medical documents, and the health information above that you can store in your emergency kit.
Plan for children
If an emergency occurs during school hours, you may need to be in contact with your children’s school or daycare.
You may need someone to pick your children up from daycare or school. Make sure the school or daycare has up-to-date contact information for you and other adults you have authorized on the pick-up list at the school or daycare. Make sure to provide any special instructions for pick-up (teacher/caregiver, school/daycare address, meeting place):
Plan for pets
If you are a pet owner, your pets are important family members. Make sure they are part of your plan. The most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to take them with you if you need to evacuate. This requires planning, as pets are not allowed in some public shelters or hotels. Plan to bring your pets to a relative or a friend's home, or identify a "pet-friendly" hotel, boarding facility, or emergency shelter in advance.
List the name, breed, colour (or identifying marks) and animal registration.
Hot tip: Not only should you have food and water for yourself and your family in your household emergency kit. Make sure you have food and water stored in your kit for your pet(s).
You and your family should make a main plan and an alternate plan showing all the exit routes from your home – consider each bedroom.
If you or someone in your home is unable to use the stairs, have a plan in place and ensure your neighbours are aware so they can help in an emergency.
You may also consider identifying an evacuation route from your neighbourhood in case you need to leave in a hurry.
Emergency meeting places
If the emergency calls for you and your family to evacuate your home, have an agreed-upon emergency meeting place. Make sure all family members know where it is and can make it to that place, even if they are children and unattended.
Your family may not be together when an emergency occurs. Have a plan for how to meet or contact one another and discuss what you would do in different situations. Identify safe places where everyone should meet if you cannot go home, or you need to evacuate from your home
- Safe meeting place near home:
- Safe meeting place outside the immediate neighbourhood:
Household logistics details
In addition to your 72-hour emergency kit, it is essential that you have other details and equipment in place and have a good understanding of the working mechanics of your home.
Ensure you have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home – check them twice a year. It helps if you also have a working fire extinguisher – ensure that everyone in your family knows where it is stored and understands how and when to use it. Make sure you check the expiry date on your extinguisher. You can always contact your local fire department for more information.
It is also a good idea to have a well-stocked first aid kit in an accessible place in your home (in addition to the one in your emergency kit).
Complete the following section so your family or roommate(s) know where these items are in case of an emergency:
You should also know how and where to access your home’s utilities and whom to contact in an emergency.
Hot tip: A grab-and-go bag is a small emergency kit that’s easy to take with you in case you need to leave immediately. It should be light and easy to carry but contain a few essentials, like some food and water, a phone charger and battery pack, a flashlight with extra batteries, a small first aid kit and personal medications, some cash, a hand-crank radio and copies of our emergency plan and your important documents.
Identify someone who lives in your community, whom you know well and whom you trust. You could choose a good friend, a relative or a neighbour. NOTE: Be sure to discuss and get agreement from each person before you list them as an emergency contact.
You should also identify an emergency contact who lives further away, outside your community. This person should live far enough away that they won’t be affected by the same emergencies. That way, if local communications networks aren’t working, everyone in your home can contact the same person, gather information and check in.
Below is a list of vital numbers and sources for the information you may need to reach out to or rely on during an emergency. Add others that are relevant to your community.
Local emergency numbers for Ottawa
- Call 9-1-1 to report life-threatening emergencies
- Ottawa Police – 613-236-1222
- Hydro Ottawa Outage line – 613-738-0188
- Enbridge - 1-866-763-5427
- City of Ottawa – 3-1-1
- Emergency Management Ontario – 647-329-1100 / Toll-free 24-Hour line: 1-800-565-1842
Hot tip: If you spot a downed wire, please stay back at least 10 metres (33 feet) and call 911.
List the contact information for your landlord, property manager or housing official.
Hot tip: Make copies of important documents Make copies of birth and marriage certificates, passports, licences, wills, land deeds and insurance. Take photos of family members in case a missing persons record is created. Keep them in a safe place, both inside and outside your home. You might want to put them in a safety deposit box or give them to your out-of-town emergency contacts.
Stay safe. Be ready: In your high-rise or multi-unit apartment
Have plans and resources in place so you and your household are ready for any emergency.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
- Have an emergency kit for your household. It should have enough resources for you and your household to survive for 72 hours. Check it twice a year to ensure it is well stocked, and food, water and batteries are fresh.
- Make sure you have smoke alarms in your apartment. Test the alarm and check the batteries twice a year – make it part of your routine when you change the clocks in your home in the spring and fall. Note that some apartments have their alarms hardwired into their emergency system.
- In most emergencies, if you are required to leave your apartment, you will not be permitted to use the elevator. If you or someone in your home has mobility issues and is unable to use the stairs it is important that you have an emergency plan in place. Notify your property manager or emergency personnel of your needs and ask your property manager to add your name to your building’s Fire Safety Plan’s Persons Requiring Assistance List. You may also want to ensure your neighbours on your floor are aware that you may need assistance in the event of an emergency.
- If you or someone in your household relies on any life-sustaining equipment, develop a backup plan that will ensure the equipment/apparatus will continue to work in the event of an emergency.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Have a plan in place for routes out of your apartment including the location of stairwells or fire escapes. Ensure everyone in your household is familiar with the routes and you have an agreed upon meeting place outside the building.
- Know the emergency plans for your building. Ask your landlord or property manager for a copy of the building’s Fire Safety Plan. Share it with everyone living in your apartment.
- Know who to contact. Have the contact information for your property manager or landlord and keep it with other emergency information, stored in your emergency kit.
- Make sure you are insured. Whether you rent or own, there are plans to cover you. Do your research and find a plan that is right for you. Keep your insurance up-to-date and keep a copy of your plan number and the contact information for your insurance company in your emergency kit.
When you live in a multi-family housing complex, preparedness is a joint task. It is important to understand the plans for not just your household but also for your building. Talk to your landlord, building manager or your building board to find out more about the plans in place for your building. If there are none in place, encourage them to create a building-wide plan and educate all tenants.
As you prepare your home emergency plan, here are a few useful links:
City of Ottawa – https://ottawa.ca/en/health-and-public-safety/emergency-preparedness
Province of Ontario – https://www.ontario.ca/page/be-prepared-emergency
Government of Canada – https://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/yprprdnssgd/index-en.aspx