Emergency preparedness

View the City’s emergency plan and get recommendations on how you should be prepared.

The get prepared campaign encourages Canadians to be prepared to cope on their own for at least the first 72 hours of an emergency, enabling first responders to focus on those in urgent need. 

Emergencies can and do happen, often without warning. The City of Quinte West has a community emergency response plan in place for the coordination and implementation of all required services in the event of a natural or man-made emergency. The emergency response plan will also be implemented when resources are called upon to assist other municipalities needing emergency assistance.

The purpose of the emergency response plan is to comply with the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (Section 3), and Ontario Regulation 380/04 that requires a municipality to have an emergency plan and an emergency response plan in place. This plan is established by By-law, a Council-approved policy document titled: Municipal emergency plan.

Everyone in your family needs to know what to do before, during and after an emergency. As a family, it is recommended to plan and discuss how you can best prepare for the most likely hazards that will affect your home. If you live alone, make a plan for yourself and make sure you talk about it with your neighbours and friends. This guide will provide you with the information, lists, and template to make sure you are prepared for an emergency. 

Other resources:

Personal emergency preparedness

At any time, in any location, and without any warning, an emergency could happen. Troubles can be as diverse and unpredictable as severe weather, power outages, earthquakes, flooding, heat emergencies, water contamination, infectious disease, and train or aircraft incidents. Whether it’s a natural or man-made disaster, you can be prepared.

The City of Quinte West has an emergency response plan to guide us through a disaster and help our community by delivering essential services in an emergency.

On the individual level, you and the people important to you must be prepared in the event of an emergency. Having a plan for 72 hours to take care of yourself and those around you and knowing what to do when a disaster strike is critical. This will help you control the situation and better enable you to recover when the emergency passes.

We are pleased to provide the following personal emergency preparedness guide. The guide outlines common-sense steps that you can take today to ensure that you are prepared if and when an emergency occurs.

Please take the time to look through the information on this site. Review it with your family, and take these necessary steps to help reduce the stress and impact of dealing with an emergency.

Be prepared

Have a plan. Make sure everyone in your family knows what to do before, during, and after an emergency. If you live alone, develop a plan for yourself that involves links to neighbours and friends.

Have a meeting this week to talk about how best to prepare for an emergency. And when you do, use the following checklist to guide you through the process.

A 72 Hour Kit needs to be available and ready to go. 

Emergency Checklist:

A fire or other emergency could make it difficult for you and your family to get out of your home. Develop an escape plan by drawing a floor plan of your home. Using a black or blue pen, mark the doors, windows, stairways, and large furniture using a separate page for each floor. Be sure to keep where you have stored your emergency supplies and family emergency survival kit.

Next, use a coloured pen to draw a broken line charting at least two escape routes from each room. Finally, mark a place outside your home where your family members should meet in case of an emergency.

If you live in an apartment, show everyone in your family where the emergency exit is. Show them where the fire alarm is, and explain when and how to use it. In a fire or other emergency, never use the elevators as they may not work if the power goes out. For further information on high rise safety, contact your local fire department.

Practice emergency evacuation drills with all household members at least twice per year. Keep your home escape plan visible where babysitters and children can see it.

Keep a list of key telephone numbers and addresses near the telephone. In an emergency, remember to use the phone for emergency calls only.

Select a person in another area to be your family’s contact person if you get separated during an emergency. Ensure that everyone memorizes this person’s name and telephone number.

Call 9-1-1 when you require the immediate response of police, fire and/or ambulance to:

  • Report a fire or other dangerous situation
  • Save a life
  • Stop crime in progress.
  • Multi-language translation services are available through 9-1-1 when needed.

Do not call 9-1-1 during an emergency to:

  • locate relatives
  • ask about the availability of gas at local pumps or local services
  • find out the location or availability of shelters and other services
  • Listen to your radio (local stations) for information and instructions from your emergency response officials.


In an emergency, traditional sources of food and water can be interrupted.  Having an emergency food and water kit can be critical to your survival. Making one is easy, inexpensive, and quick — in fact, you probably already have most of the items you need.

Food should be easy to store with no need for refrigeration. Choose foods that you like and pre-cooked, require no cooking, or be cooked quickly in little or no water.

Store food in screw-top jars or sealed containers. Store drinking water in clean, disinfected containers with secure lids. Rotate and use food and water every six to twelve months. Inspect all food containers for signs of spoilage before use.

Your emergency food and water kit should contain adequate supplies to keep you and your family self-sufficient in your home for at least three days.

Suggested contents for your food kit include:

  • Grain products (cold, dry and hot cereals, breadsticks, rice, couscous, crackers, pretzels, noodles/pasta, pancake mix, rice cakes, melba toast, granola bars, cookies)
  • Meat and alternatives (canned meat and fish, canned soup, stew or pasta with meat, canned beans, peas, lentils, peanut butter, instant refried beans, textured vegetable protein, sunflower seeds, and nuts)
  • Non-perishable milk products (skim milk powder, canned evaporated 2% milk, soy, rice parmesan cheese, packaged or canned puddings, cheese spread)
  • Vegetables and fruit (canned or jarred vegetables, fruit and vegetable juices, dried fruit, applesauce, tomato sauce)
  • Other foods (canned or packaged meats, hummus and tabbouleh, pasta sauce mixes, bouillon cubes, honey/jam, instant coffee, tea or hot chocolate, nonperishable pet foods)
  • Additional supplies (cutlery, cups, plates, can opener, bottle opener, waterproof matches or lighter, plastic bags)

Your water kit should contain:

  • At least a three day supply of water for each person in your household
  • At least two litres of drinking water per adult per day
  • At least two litres of water per person per day for cleaning and cooking
  • Purification tablets or chlorine bleach and an eyedropper

Keep in mind that children, nursing mothers, and ill people will need extra water.

If there is no other source, emergency water can be obtained from your water heater, toilet tank, and melted ice cubes.

Having a first aid kit can be critical in an emergency. Making one is easy, inexpensive, and quick — and it could save your life. Assemble the supplies in a container that is easy to carry and store them in a location that is easy to get to.

Your first aid kit should contain:

  • Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
  • 2-inch sterile gauze pads (4 – 6)
  • 4-inch sterile gauze pads (4 – 6)
  • 2-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
  • 3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
  • Adhesive tape
  • Triangular bandages (3 rolls)
  • Scissors and tweezers
  • Moistened towelettes
  • Alcohol-based hand cleaner
  • Antiseptic
  • Thermometer
  • Tongue depressors (2)
  • Chemical cold pack
  • Petroleum jelly tube
  • Safety pins
  • Soap
  • Vinyl-based (non-allergenic) medical examination gloves (2 pair)
  • Sunscreen/mosquito repellant
  • First aid manual
  • Non-prescription drugs (pain reliever, anti-diarrhea medication, antacid, laxative, activated charcoal)

Be prepared wherever you go with a survival kit in your vehicle. Making one is easy, inexpensive, and quick — and it could save your life.

Your emergency car kit should contain adequate supplies to keep you and your family safe and self-sufficient for an extended period in the event you become stranded in your car.

Try to keep your vehicle gas tank at least half-full at all times. Assemble the supplies in a portable container and store them in your trunk/cargo area.

Your emergency car kit should contain:

  • Cell phone
  • Booster cables
  • First aid kit (see checklist)
  • Road maps
  • Methyl hydrate to de-ice fuel line
  • Ice scraper and brush
  • Sand (kitty litter)
  • Blankets
  • Candles in a deep can
  • Waterproof matches
  • Tow chain
  • Warning light or flares
  • Flashlight (with extra batteries and bulbs)
  • Extra hats, coats, and footwear
  • Rainwear
  • Food bars (granola, chocolate, etc.)
  • Fire extinguisher

You should always stock six basics in your home: water, food, first aid supplies, tools and supplies, clothing, and bedding.

An emergency survival kit will help ensure your safety and the safety of your family.  Making one is easy, inexpensive, and quick — in fact, you probably already have most of the items you need. Assemble the supplies in a container that is easy to carry and store them in a location that is easy to get to. Make sure everyone knows where to find the family emergency survival kit.

Your kit should contain adequate supplies to keep you and your family self-sufficient in your home for at least three days. 

Keep the items you would most likely need during an evacuation in a waterproof backpack or duffle bag.  

In an emergency, keep your radio tuned to the local stations for information about the situation and for information about where you can find shelter or aid if required.

And remember, if you or your family members are on any prescription medicines, they should be packed and taken with you in the event of an emergency.

Your emergency survival kit should contain:

  • Battery-operated or crank radio
  • Flashlights and extra batteries and bulbs
  • Cash or traveller’s cheques
  • Utility knife
  • Rope
  • Shovel
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Tube tent
  • Blankets/sleeping bags
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Candles and matches/lighter
  • Extra vehicle keys
  • Important papers
  • Food and bottled water
  • Clothing and footwear (one change per person, more for children)
  • Toilet paper and other personal supplies
  • First aid kit
  • Backpack/duffle bag
  • Plastic garbage bags, ties
  • Disinfectant, chlorine bleach
  • Extra fuel for the vehicle, stored in a safe place and an approved container (not a large quantity
  • Map of area and compass
  • Adjustable wrench to shut off household gas and water
  • Whistle (in case you need to attract attention)
  • Playing cards, games, paper, pencils

A family documents kit will protect your identity and ensure that you and your family get the help you need in an emergency.

Making one is easy, inexpensive, and quick — and it can make all the difference.

Your essential family documents kit should contain all the documents you may need in an emergency. Assemble the documents in a waterproof, portable container, and store them in a location that is easy to get to.

Your family documents kit should contain:

  • Insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds
  • Passports immigration papers
  • Social insurance numbers
  • Immunization records
  • List of prescriptions
  • Bank account numbers
  • Credit card account numbers and companies
  • Inventory of valuable household goods
  • Important telephone numbers
  • Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
  • Photos of family members in case you are separated

Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage for the range of risks that might occur in your area. Discuss your insurance needs with an agent, broker or insurance representative. For further information, call the Insurance Bureau of Canada consumer information centre at 1-800-387-2880 or visit the Insurance Bureau of Canada website.

Keep an inventory of all of your possessions listing approximate costs, serial numbers and a short description. Photographs are an excellent way of recording objects of extraordinary value. Once you have completed your list, discuss it with your insurance agent.

In an emergency, familiar sources of assistance might be interrupted. A special needs kit will help ensure everyone’s needs are provided for. Making one is easy, inexpensive, and quick — and it can make all the difference.

Prepare a special needs kit for family members with special needs, such as infants and elderly or disabled persons.

Assemble the supplies in a container that is easy to carry and store them in a location that is easy to get to. Your emergency special needs kit should contain adequate supplies to keep you and your family self-sufficient in your home for at least three days.

Your unique needs kit should contain:

  • For babies – jarred baby food, instant cereal or formula, sterilized water to make formula, baby bottles, disposable diapers, extra clothing, snowsuit, and medication
  • For adults – special medications, dentures, eyeglasses, hearing aids, batteries, copies of prescriptions
  • For children – toys, games, extra clothing, special medications
  • For the people with disabilities – extra batteries for wheelchairs, and other personal care equipment, oxygen, medications, catheters, food for guide or service dogs
  • For pet – water, food, vaccination records

If you receive home health care and/or personal support, you should discuss emergency plans with your caregivers or home care agency. You should also check with your physician if prior arrangements are required for evacuation to a hospital.

Have a plan of action for the care of your pets during an emergency. Prepare for the possibility that you may have to evacuate and relocate your animals. Since you may not be home when an evacuation order comes, find out if a trusted neighbour would be willing to take your pets and meet you at a prearranged location. Research and make contingency plans for possible relocation of livestock during an emergency.

Locate all shut-off switches for heating and ventilating equipment in your home. Identify these switches with easy-to-see signs placed near the breaker panel (or main circuit breaker) and gas and water supplies. Clearly label the on-off position for each. Teach members of your family how to shut off these services. Include a list of the locations with your essential documents information sheet.

If your home is equipped with natural gas, tie or tape the appropriate wrench to or near the pipe. No one but a qualified technician should ever turn the gas back on — do not attempt this on your own.

Knowing what to do in case of a fire in your building will keep you and your family safe. Ensuring everyone in your apartment knows how to respond could make the difference between life and death.

If you live in a high rise building, you could face unique challenges in the event of a significant emergency. All the advice that applies to people who live in smaller apartment buildings or single-family dwellings will apply to you. However, there are some essential steps you should keep in mind and procedures you should practice:

Know the evacuation plan for your building and what to do in the event of an alarm. This means understanding the various alarms that may sound in your building and the proper response for each. You can request this information from your superintendent, building supervisor or landlord if you cannot find it easily on your own.

Know each exit stairwell’s location on your floor and identify them as primary (closest) and secondary exits.

Keep the corridors and hallways leading to these exits free and clear of obstruction. If corridors and hallways are obstructed, notify your superintendent, building supervisor or landlord.

NEVER use the elevator in a high rise during an alarm.

In case of a power outage, have extra drinking water stored, especially if you live on higher floors.

Unless you are asked to evacuate, you should stay in your apartment as long as you feel safe, warm enough, and feed yourself.

If you discover a fire:

  • Leave the area.
  • Close the doors as you exit.
  • Sound the fire alarm.
  • Telephone 9-1-1 from an area of safety.
  • Use a safe exit stairwell – not the elevators.

Upon hearing the fire alarm:

  • Turn off all appliances.
  • Feel the door before opening it. If it is warm, remain in your unit and call 9-1-1. If the door is not hot, leave the building via the nearest exit and close all doors behind you.
  • If the smoke is heavy in the corridor, it may be safer to remain in your apartment. Close the door and place a wet towel at its base.
  • If the stairway is full of smoke, use an alternate exit. If all stairways are also full of smoke, it may be safer to stay in your apartment.
  • Make sure you take your key in case you are forced to return to your unit.

Know the building:

  • Learn the exits’ location and fire alarm pull stations on your floor and other areas you visit frequently. This knowledge may save your life.
  • Make a simple floor plan showing the two exits closest to your apartment. Walk the distance and count the number of steps to these exits. In an emergency, hallway and exit lighting may be out. If that happens, you can count your steps to find the exit.
  • Make your family fire escape plan now. Have a family meeting to discuss the plan and the fire safety information on this page.
  • Conduct regular fire drills with your family and participate in those conducted by your building’s management.


Never place yourself or others in jeopardy by attempting to extinguish a fire. If you cannot extinguish a small fire with a portable fire extinguisher, or the smoke becomes hazardous, leave the area. Close the door to confine and contain the fire. Activate the alarm, call 9-1-1, and wait outside for firefighters to arrive.

After a disaster

Following an emergency, it can be difficult to resume everyday life. Here are some suggestions to help get yourself and your family back on track after a major emergency or disaster:

  • Talk about your feelings.
  • Talk about what’s happened.
  • Encourage your children to express their feelings. They may want to do this by drawing or playing instead of talking.  Understand that their feelings are real.
  • Recognize that you may grieve when you suffer a loss (yes, you can grieve the loss of a wedding photo or your grandfather’s favourite ring). You may feel apathetic or angry. You may not sleep well or eat well. These are normal grief reactions.

Children exposed to a disaster can experience various intense emotional reactions, such as anxiety, fear, nervousness, stomachaches, loss of appetite, and other reactions.

These are normal and temporary reactions to danger. Parents can help relieve such reactions by taking their children’s fears seriously, reassuring them, giving them additional attention, and hugging them. Explain what’s going on and what will happen and will not happen. It will help your children if you remain calm and reassuring.

After a disaster, children are most afraid that:

  • The event will happen again.

  • Someone will get hurt or injured.

  • They will be separated from the family.

  • They will be left alone.

  • To counter these fears, comfort and reassure children. Tell them what you know about the situation. Be honest but gentle. Encourage them to talk about the disaster. Encourage them to ask questions. Give them a real task to do, something that gets the family back on its feet. Keep them with you, even if it seems easier to look for housing or help independently. During an emergency, the whole family needs to stay together.

Visit the Emergency Management Ontario website for essential emergency information.

Last Updated: 10 months ago

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