Getting ready for severe weather: Are you prepared?

Severe weather emergencies and disasters can happen at any time. As the temperature drops, snow and ice storms could mean problems with utilities and road closures and getting crucial supplies can become difficult. Local, provincial and federal officials prepare for emergencies, and so can you. Everyone should be prepared to take care of themselves and their families for up to three days in the event of an emergency or disaster.

Being prepared for an emergency includes the preparation of an emergency survival kit. The contents of your emergency survival kit should be kept together in an easy-to-carry container or bag. This is important to remember because in the event of an emergency situation, you and your family may have to leave your home quickly. An emergency survival kit provides insurance that you will have necessary and basic supplies with you. Your emergency survival kit should also be kept in an easy-to-reach location and everyone in your family should know where it is stored.

York’s Emergency Preparedness Program has compiled a list of basic items every emergency survival kit should contain:

  • flashlight and batteries
  • radio and batteries or crank radio
  • spare batteries (for radio and flashlight)
  • first-aid kit
  • candles, matches and a lighter or glowsticks (never leave burning candles unattended)
  • extra car keys and cash
  • important papers (identification)
  • non-perishable food (ready-to-eat items that do not require refrigeration)
  • manual can opener/bottle opener
  • bottled water (four litres per person per day)
  • clothing and footwear
  • blankets or sleeping bag
  • toilet paper and other personal items
  • medication
  • backpack or duffle bag
  • whistle (to attract attention, if needed)
  • playing cards and games

Since emergency supply requirements vary for individuals with special needs and different disabilities, think of any special needs members of your family might have and include any other items that your family would need. Families with babies and toddlers will have additional needs and would need to include items such as diapers, baby food and formula, bottles/sippy cups, toys, crayons and paper. 

Remember, severe weather emergencies can happen without much warning and at any time of year. You may be forced to evacuate your neighbourhood or be confined to your home or workplace – are you ready?

For more information, visit the York Emergency Preparedness Program Web site or contact Kathy Branton at or ext. 55258.

Also, check the federal government’s Get Prepared Web site to watch the video Preparing a Family Emergency Kit