How to prepare for an emergency

Find out how to prepare for an emergency or disaster, including building an emergency kit and special considerations for children, pets, older adults, and people with disabilities.

Make a plan so that you and your family know what to do when an emergency situation happens. 

A basic emergency plan should include:

  • Safe exits from your home and neighbourhood
  • Meeting places to reunite with friends or family
  • Emergency numbers and contacts
  • Copies of important documents such as insurance and identification
  • Location of your emergency kit, fire extinguisher, and utility shut-offs

You may also need to think about:

  • Designating someone pick up your child from daycare or school if your family is not together when an emergency occurs
  • Asking a neighbour to care for or evacuate your pet if you’re not home
  • Additional considerations for managing a disability or special needs during an emergency
  • Purchasing a tenant or homeowner’s insurance policy or checking the details of an existing policy to make sure you have the right coverage to meet your needs

See instructional video for adequate insurance coverage.

72 hour emergency kit

An emergency kit should have the supplies that your household needs to survive for at least 72 hours. Keep in mind you may lose access to running water or power in an emergency situation. 

Basic supplies

  • Four litres of water per person per day
  • Food that won’t spoil, like canned goods, energy bars and dried foods
  • Manual can opener 
  • Crank or battery-powered flashlight and radio and extra batteries
  • First aid kit with hand sanitizer
  • Duct tape and aluminium foil or plastic wrap to tape up windows, doors, and air vents
  • Cash, especially smaller bills and change
  • Your emergency plan and important documents

Depending on your household needs, you may also want to include:

  • Supplies for children and infants such as diapers, formula, bottles, and toys
  • Prescription drugs, medical supplies or special equipment
  • Pet vet and vaccination records, food, toys, and other items like cat litter, leashes or carriers

Additional supplies

Consider adding these extra items to your emergency kit:

  • Glow sticks, battery-operated candles
  • Portable power bank and charging cables for mobile devices
  • Change of clothing and footwear for each family member
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each family members
  • Toiletries, toilet paper and personal hygiene items
  • Utensils, plates and cups
  • Household chlorine bleach or water purifying tablets
  • Basic tools
  • Small fuel-operated stove and fuel
  • Whistle

Check your emergency kit twice a year, when clocks change for daylight savings time. 

See video of what to include in a 72 hour emergency kit.

Emergency kits for vehicles

When out of the house, drivers should keep an emergency kit in their vehicle, just in case they become stuck, due to an accident, mechanical issue or poor weather conditions.

A basic emergency vehicle kit should include:

  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Booster cables
  • Fire extinguisher (small canister, ABC type)
  • Warning light or flares
  • Tow rope, 30 foot in length
  • Warning light or flares
  • Highway help sign
  • First aid kit
  • Car charger for electronic devices
  • Road maps
  • Rain wear
  • Food bars and bottled water (change every six months)
  • Gloves

See instructional video of what to include in a vehicle emergency kit.

Items for winter

  • Ice scraper and snow brush
  • Small shovel
  • Gas line anti-freeze, to de-ice your fuel line
  • Sand or kitty litter, for tire traction
  • Blankets
  • Candles in a deep can
  • Waterproof matches
  • Extra hats, coats and footwear
  • Hand and foot warmers

Knowing the potential risks in Mississauga can help you better prepare. The top natural hazards in our City are:

  • Flooding
  • Freezing rain or ice storm
  • Windstorm
  • Extreme hot or cold temperatures
  • Snowstorm

Other hazards could also trigger emergencies. They could include cyberattack, infectious disease outbreaks, or critical infrastructure failure.

During an emergency, stay tuned to local news outlets to receive the most up-to-date information and instructions. Be sure to have a portable, battery-operated or crank radio in your emergency kit in case of power outages.

Information outlets in Mississauga may include: