BC Emergency Preparedness 101

As extreme weather events become increasingly regular across Canada, it is more important than ever to be prepared in case of an emergency. But what does emergency preparedness look like?

The idea of preparing for an emergency can seem overwhelming, but we can this concept easier by breaking the important items down into bite-sized lists. This will help to ensure that you and your family know what to do should disaster strike, while ensuring that no important points are missed. To begin, we can follow these steps:

1. Know the risks

2. Make a plan

3. Prepare an emergency kit


They say that knowing is half the battle. To make sure we are prepared, we must first define what we are preparing for. In British Columbia, the most common emergency situations include earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, forest fires, heatwaves, and landslides. Though for those of us not used to snow and ice, cold snaps may also pose significant risks. Consider as well the locations affected by these emergencies. It is best practice to have a plan for both at home and on the road. For example, many of these situations could result in becoming stuck on a highway, unable to reach your house, apartment, or any shops. In this scenario, it would be important to have emergency supplies ready to go in your vehicle. Often there are simple steps we can take to help prevent damage before it happens or to make emergency response easier on ourselves.


The most important thing to do during an emergency is to remain calm, a difficult task as emotions and adrenaline run high. Having a plan laid out and accessible beforehand will make it significantly easier to take the steps necessary to protect yourself, your family, your property, and your pets. Now that we have identified the risks we must respond to, we can begin to plan how we should respond. Making our emergency response plan includes addressing items like:

  • What important contact information should you/do you have on hand? E.g. phone numbers for relatives and emergency services.
  • Where should your family meet during an emergency?
  • Do you have the necessary emergency supplies on hand? E.g. non-perishable food items, extra food for pets, bottled water, a stocked first aid kit, back-ups of any important medications.
  • Is this information written down anywhere? Maybe you have thought of these things before, but never actually recorded the information anywhere. When adrenaline is pumping, sometimes we can find it difficult to think straight and we can begin to forget things that seemed obvious to us before. Having a list to reference when it’s needed can cut down on stress and ensure nothing important is missed.


When deciding what to include in your emergency kits, the general rule of thumb is to include enough supplies for a 72 hour period. This ensures if the worst were to happen, you will have sufficient resources until emergency responders are able to reach you. In some emergencies, it is possible you may not have access to tap water, electricity other basic necessities. The main things to consider are:

  • Non-perishable food items and a can opener (If you have any pets, they will need some too!)
  • Clean water (2 litres per person per day)
  • Necessary medications (2 weeks worth)
  • Basic first aid supplies
  • Batteries
  • Flashlight
  • Radio
  • Phone charger
  • Small bills and coins (in case you can’t access a bank)
  • A copy of your emergency plan
  • Photocopies of personal documents (think birth certificates and wills)
  • A household emergency contact list

Remember! If you are stocking a kit for your vehicle, it is a good idea to include extra blankets, too.

*PRO TIP: Make sure your emergency kit is portable! This will be crucial if you are required to re-allocate during a flood or other event.

For more information visit GetPrepared.ca by Clicking Here

To buy a ready-made emergency kit check out the Canadian Red Cross shop by Clicking Here