Emergency Preparedness

Did you know that Emergency Preparedness Week is in May?

Does this look familiar?

If so, don’t worry. There are many things you can do to help prepare your family for an emergency, but there are 3 basic steps to getting prepared:

  1. Know the Risks
  2. Make a Plan
  3. Get a Kit

Today, I am going to focus on #3 and show you what I have been working on in my home.

I know at first look, it might seem like a big task to put together an emergency kit, but it does not have to be done in a day, and it shouldn’t be a major expense. Start with making a list and thinking about how you can use things you already have. Get Prepared is a great website that has interactive checklists to help get you started.

When I started to put together my kit, I kept the list with me when I went shopping and picked up items here and there as I found them. To contain your kit, find a bag or other container you would like to use (hint: an old rolling suitcase makes a great portable kit). I use a basic plastic tote and store it in a bedroom closet.

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Besides your emergency kit, think of what you already have in your home that might be useful in an emergency. We keep a stocked travel kit at all times. This kit benefits us in 2 ways. First, when we travel, it is less packing since I know it is ready to go. Second, it is an organized way to easily access hygiene supplies and medication we would need if we ever had to evacuate our home.

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Here is what it contains:

  • Basic toiletries such as toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, conditioner
  • Comb, brush, hair elastics
  • Advil, acetaminophen, antibiotic ointment, hydrocortisone cream (rotated with our regular supply to avoid expiry)
  • Sunscreen, bug spray
  • In a separate pouch; bottle opener, sewing kit, tweezers, scissors, small paring knife, matches
  • Travel pack of baby wipes
  • Photocopies of health cards

Another important part of our emergency preparedness is our family binder. Although we use this day-to-day, it includes important documents, phone lists and medical information that would be important to take with us if we had to evacuate our home.

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While surfing around Pinterest, I found a great idea for child specific bags that I decided to add to our emergency kit. These are bags that the kids can carry themselves and would provide some extras and comfort items. I am hoping to pick up some clearance backpacks in September to get them finished off. Here are the types of things you might want to consider for these types of bags:

  • diapers or incontinence products
  • formula or other specific nutritional needs/feeding items
  • changes of clothing
  • fun stuff – colouring, games puzzles
  • light sources – flash light, glow sticks
  • water bottle
  • snacks

Perhaps, the most important thing of all is to involve your family in the planning process. Assembling a kit can be a great conversation starter. Talk with children on an age appropriate level about your emergency plan and let them have input on their “fun items” in the personal kits and food items in the main kit. As a family, review your emergency plan and kit contents on a regular basis.

Do you have an emergency kit? If so, what prompted you to put it together? If not, what has been holding you back?

Erin is a mom of two; a 4 year old ninja and a 6 year old princess. When she is not working at CHEO in Safety and Emergency Preparedness, she can usually be found hanging out with her kiddos, camera in hand. Erin is a new blogger, writing about her perspective on parenting as a mom who works outside the home.


  • ashley picco

    great post! I always think I need to get a kit, but then I never end up picking up the supplies. needed – off to make a list