Make a Household Emergency Plan
In the event of an emergency or a natural disaster, first responders may not arrive in your area immediately. You are therefore primarily responsible for your safety. The best way to prepare for such an eventuality is to have a household emergency plan :
- Always have an emergency kit on hand that contains the essential items needed to meet the basic needs of household members for 3 days.
- Draw up a list of the names and contact information of the persons you will need to reach in the event of an emergency (family members, daycare, school, municipality, etc.).
- Prepare a household evacuation plan, determine where family members are to gather and conduct evacuation drills. If you live in a building with an elevator, be sure to use the stairs, even during drills.
- Learn how to turn off the water, electricity and gas (if applicable).
- Determine the route you will take to leave the neighborhood in the event of an evacuation. Determine an alternative route in the event that certain roads are impassable.
- Make an inventory of your property, and include proofs of purchase, photos or video. Store these documents with copies of your home and automobile insurance policies in a safe place outside your home (such as your workplace, for example).
- Contact your insurer to verify your home insurance coverage . The majority of home insurance policies cover damages caused by natural phenomena such as hail, lightning, wind storms or tornadoes.
If You Must Leave Your Home
Depending on the gravity of the situation, your municipality may ask you to evacuate your home or stay indoors for your safety. If the authorities ask you to leave immediately, follow the instructions given by your municipality.
If the authorities have not provided any evacuation instructions, it is up to you to decide whether to leave or to stay in your home during the event in question.
Before leaving, pack essential items for all members of your family :
- Personal hygiene items;
- Extra clothes;
- Identification documents;
- Car and house keys;
- Milk, bottles and diapers for infants;
- Electronic devices and accessories for connecting them;
- Items for the wellbeing of family members with special needs.
Place your pets in a safe location.
Lock the doors of your home.
Close the gas valve solely if instructed to do so. Only the gas company can restore service, which could take a certain amount of time.
Avoid travelling on flooded roads either on foot or in a vehicle. If you must use a vehicle, drive carefully and do not hesitate to abandon it if the engine stops suddenly.
Use the route indicated by your municipality.
Inform your family and the municipality where you intend to take shelter.
Prepare an Emergency Kit to Keep at Home
At home, always have on hand an emergency kit (stored in a backpack or bin) containing the items that household members will need to make it through the first 3 days of an emergency situation. Your emergency kit should be stored in an easily accessible location. Verify its contents annually and replace the batteries and bottled water as needed.
Below are the 7 essential items you should have in your emergency kit :
- Drinking water (6 litres per person);
- Non-perishable food (for at least 3 days);
- Hand can opener;
- Battery-operated radio and replacement batteries;
- Headlamp or flashlight and replacement batteries or a wind-up flashlight;
- Lighter or matches and candles;
- First aid kit containing antiseptics, analgesics, adhesive bandages, sterile gauze pads, scissors, etc.;
Prepare an Emergency Kit to Keep in Your Vehicle
Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle in the event of a breakdown, an accident or as a precaution during the winter season.
If you become trapped in your vehicle :
- Call 911;
- Stay calm and remain in your vehicle;
- Turn on your vehicle's hazard lights;
- Limit the use of your vehicle's battery by alternating between using the lights, heater and radio;
- If it is dark out, turn on the vehicle's cabin light in order to be visible to first responders;
- Move your limbs to stimulate blood circulation and avoid falling asleep;
- Be alert to symptoms of hypothermia .
If you must turn on the vehicle's engine to keep the cabin warm, follow the rules below to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning :
- Make sure that nothing is blocking the vehicle's exhaust pipe (snow, etc.);
- Crack the window on the side opposite to the wind before starting the engine;
- Allow the engine to run about 10 minutes every 30 minutes.
Before leaving, verify road conditions on the Québec 511 website or by calling 511.
If road conditions are difficult, leave only if it is absolutely necessary.
Prepare as a person with special needs
If you are a person with special needs, the consequences of an emergency may be greater because of, for example, your dependence on electrical power to operate certain equipment essential to your well-being. By doing simple things now, you can prepare for your specific needs.
How to Prepare for a Specific Type of Emergency
- Drinking water contamination or shortage
- Forest fires
- Power outages
- Severe thunderstorms
- Major industrial accidents
- Transportation of hazardous materials
- Dam failure
- Windstorms and Tornadoes
- Storm surges and Shoreline flooding
- Radiation and nuclear incident
- Oppressive or extreme heat
- Winter storm and extreme cold
Last update: November 24, 2020