Ten must-haves for your home emergency preparedness kit

City of St. Catharines press release – A home emergency kit stocked with some basic supplies will help you and your family ride out disasters that strike suddenly and without notice.

But it’s important not to wait until you’re faced with an emergency to assemble your emergency preparedness kit, says Acting Fire Chief Jeff McCormick, because these kinds of situations are unpredictable, can trap you in your home and leave you scrambling for food and water if you are not already prepared.

“Emergencies never happen when you’re expecting them,” said the acting fire chief. “You need to expect the unexpected and be ready to protect yourself and your family. Having a home emergency preparedness kit with enough supplies to last 72-hours will give you and your family what you need most in event of an emergency.”

Emergency Preparedness Week is May 5-11/2019. Members of St. Catharines Fire and Emergency Services and Niagara Region Emergency Management will be at Market Square Thursday, May 9 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to meet residents and discuss home emergency preparedness kits, home emergency planning, and more about how they keep themselves and their families safe when disaster strikes. All are welcome.

Whether you’re buying a home emergency kit pre-packed with the basics or working with everyone in the house to make your own the following supplies are essential:

  • Water – at least a three-day supply for each member of the home. Include small bottles that can be easily carried in case you have to evacuate
  • Food – at least a three-day supply of ready-to-eat food that won’t spoil and can be easily prepared without cooking and little to no water
  • Manual can opener
  • Wind-up or battery-powered radio, flashlights and extra batteries
  • First Aid kit – Purchase a complete kit at any drug store and add personal care items such as toothpaste, soap, sunscreen and non prescription pain relievers
  • Clothing – change of clothing and footwear per member of the home plus seasonal items such as hats, mitts, parkas
  • Blankets and sleeping bags – enough for each member of the home
  • Photocopies of important family documents – include identification, insurance and bank records, photos of family members, list of medications in a portable, waterproof container
  • Money – keep smaller bills and change
  • Extra house and car keys

“Residents may have many of these items at home already but the key is to make sure these items are organized and easy-to-find when they are needed,” said the acting fire chief. “I recommend residents keep their emergency items separate in a backpack or suitcase with wheels and stored in a place where everyone in the home can find it easily.”

McCormick also urges residents to prepare a home emergency plan so everyone in the house knows what to do and where to find critical information from the City about what’s going on and what to do next.

“Emergencies can trap you in your home for days or force you to leave in an instant,” said the acting fire chief. “Things can change in the blink of an eye and residents need to be ready to act. No one expects an emergency to happen but everyone can be ready for one with a home emergency kit and plan.”