Emergency preparedness

Learn more about emergency preparedness and what steps you can take to prepare and protect yourself and your family from emergencies.

The City of Quinte West is ready to take action to support the community in the event of an emergency. Learn more about how the City will respond to emergencies in the City of Quinte West Community Emergency Response Plan

You also play a key role in staying prepared and ensuring your own safety during emergency situations. Download your copy of the Emergency Preparedness Guide (PDF) and read what steps you can take to prepare below.

Plan ahead

  • Make sure everyone in your household knows what to do before, during and after an emergency.
  • Make a plan together and discuss how you can best prepare for the most likely hazards that could affect you or your home. 
  • If you live alone, make a plan for yourself and talk about it with your neighbours, friends and/or family members. 
  • Keep a list handy of emergency phone numbers and put a copy of important phone numbers in your emergency kit(s). 
  • Prepare an escape plan by identifying all possible exit routes from your home and neighbourhood. 
  • Plan to meet the needs of everyone in your household, especially seniors, children, people with disabilities and pets. 
  • Choose a friend or family member who lives out of town to be the contact person in the event you need to evacuate the immediate area or are separated from your family. 

Prepare your emergency kit(s)

A 72-hour kit contains supplies to support you and your family for three days during an emergency. Add the following supplies to your kit: 

Food and water

  • 3-5 gallons of water (4 litres per person, per day)
  • Manual can opener 
  • Non-perishable food (such as canned or freeze-dried items)
  • Water purifying tablets 

Warmth and shelter

  • Emergency reflective blanket
  • Hand and body warm packs
  • Lightweight stove or fuel/camp stove (to be used outdoors only)
  • Poncho (a large garbage bag can make a great rain poncho)
  • Tent/trailer or other shelter
  • Wool blend blanket and/or sleeping bag

Tools and equipment

  • Cooking utensils
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight, lantern or candles and windproof/waterproof matches
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Nylon rope and duct tape
  • Pen/pencil and writing pad
  • Pocket knife
  • Radio and batteries or crank radio
  • Sewing kit
  • Shovel, hatchet or axe
  • Water-resistant duffel bag/tote to store your items
  • Whistle (to signal for help)

Additional items 

  • Bank account and credit card information
  • Cell phone charger and car adapter
  • Copies of health cards, drivers licenses and birth certificates
  • Extra house and car keys 
  • Games and toys for children
  • Passports
  • Photos of family members in the event you are separated during an emergency

Keep the following items in each vehicle you own to stay safe if you become stranded: 

  • Blankets
  • Booster cables
  • Cloth or roll of toilet paper
  • Compass
  • Emergency food supply
  • Extra clothing and footwear
  • Extra windshield washer fluid
  • Fire extinguisher
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Fuel line antifreeze
  • Ice scraper and snowbrush
  • Matches
  • Road maps
  • Sand or kitty litter (to improve tire traction)
  • Shovel
  • Survival candle in a deep can
  • Tow chain
  • Traction mits
  • Warning light or road flares

A “go bag” is what you take with you when you have to evacuate your home quickly. Each member of your home should have one. Your go bag should include: 

  • Basic first aid kit
  • Cash, credit cards and debit cards
  • Change of clothes
  • Copies of ID, insurance papers and important documents
  • Copy of important phone numbers for family members, workplace(s), daycare and vet
  • Flashlight with batteries
  • Medication and copies of prescriptions
  • Non-perishable snacks and bottled water or a water purification kit
  • Spare home and car keys
  • Toiletries, including: toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, hand sanitizer, hygiene products and deodorant 

Basic first aid checklist

  • Adhesive bandages
  • Adhesive tape
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Disposable non-latex gloves
  • Instant ice packs
  • Note pad and pencil
  • Scissors
  • Small and large gauze pads
  • Thermometer
  • Tweezers

Make your pet(s) a part of your emergency plan. In the event that you need to evacuate, be prepared to take your pet(s) and service animal(s) with you. Ensure you have the necessary supplies for each animal in your home, including:

  • 72-hour supply of food
  • 72-hour supply of bottled water
  • Blankets/towels
  • Can-opener
  • Current photo of your pet or service animal in case they get lost 
  • ID tag
  • Information on your pet’s feeding schedule, behavioural/medical concerns, and instructions in case you have to board your pet
  • Leash, muzzle or harness
  • List of boarding facilities in your area, hotels/motels that accept pets and friends and/or relatives that you and your pet can stay with
  • Litter pan, litter, plastic bags and scooper
  • Medical records, including proof of vaccinations
  • Medications and pet first aid kit
  • Non-spill food and water bowls 
  • Pet carrier (for transportation)
  • Plastic bags for waste disposal
  • Small toy(s)

Remember these tips when creating your pet emergency kit:

  • If you have a service animal, including their documentation in the kit. 
  • Include your veterinarian’s contact information in your emergency kit. 
  • Emergency supply needs vary by pet. Ask your veterinarian or visit ontariospca.ca to learn more. 
  • If you have a dog, ensure they have a dog tag. Learn more and buy your tag at quintewest.ca/dogtags

Know your hazards

  • Open fridge and freezer doors as little as possible to preserve food. 
  • Never use camp stoves, burners or barbecues indoors. 
  • Never leave candles unattended. 
  • Prevent pipes from bursting by draining them and turning off the main water supply. 
  • Dress warmly in layers and stay dry. 
  • Take breaks and avoid overexertion. 
  • Always let people know when you are traveling in inclement weather. Give them your route and expected arrival time.
  • Only use heating equipment approved for indoor use inside. 
  • Keep combustible materials away from portable heaters. 
  • Do not overload electrical circuits. 
  • Know the warming centre location(s) in your community. 
  • Stay in the shade. When in the sun, use minimum SPF 30 sunscreen. 
  • Wear light-coloured, lightweight and loose-fitting clothing.
  • Drink plenty of water. 
  • Avoid strenuous activities. 
  • Never leave children or pets in a car unattended. 
  • Know the cooling centre location(s) in your community.
  • If outdoors, go inside. If that’s not possible, squat low to the ground. Do not lie down. 
  • Take shelter in a ditch or recessed area if you can not shelter in a building. Do not take cover under trees.
  • If in a boat, return to shore immediately. 
  • Avoid handling electrical equipment, faucets and telephones. Lighting can follow wires and pipes.
  • If you are in a car, stay in your vehicle.
  • Go to the basement or an interior room on the ground floor.
  • Stay away from windows and exterior walls.
  • If outdoors, go inside. If that’s not possible, take cover in a ditch or recessed area. 
  • Move furniture and valuables from lower levels to higher ones, if possible. 
  • Make sure basement windows are closed.
  • Seek higher ground if water is rising quickly.

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

Every residence in Ontario must have a working smoke alarm on each level of the home. Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are required outside of each sleeping area. 

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms save lives by warning people of possible fires and the presence of carbon monoxide. 

What to do when your alarm sounds

  • Leave your home immediately. Every second counts, so don’t waste time picking up valuables. 
  • When leaving, do not open any inside door without first feeling its surface. If it’s hot, or if you see smoke, do not open that door. Instead, use an alternate exit identified in your home escape plan. 
  • Stay close to the floor if there’s smoke in your home.
  • Once outside, go to your common meeting place and ensure all members of your household are there. 
  • Call the fire department from outside your home using a cell phone or a neighbour’s phone. 
  • Do not return to your home until the fire officials say that it is alright to do so.

Remember to check your smoke and carbon monoxide alarm batteries at least once per year, or according to the manufacturer’s directions. Choose a date you’ll remember, such as the start of daylight saving time.

Weather alerts

Environment Canada issues alerts when potentially dangerous weather conditions are in the forecast. Different alerts are used depending on the severity of the weather event.

Special weather statements are the least urgent type of alert. They are issued to advise people about unusual weather conditions that may cause concern.

Advisories can cover a wide range of worsening weather conditions that may be cause for public concern. They may also identify severe weather in the long-term forecast. 

Watches are issued when potential severe weather is in the forecast. A watch is released to make the public aware of what may happen when severe weather starts to form. 

Weather warnings are issued when severe weather is occurring or about to happen. Watches may be upgraded to warnings when the severe weather has been reported, is imminent and meets certain criteria.

Visit ec.gc.ca for more information on current alerts and to learn more about the weather alerting system.


Evacuation is a protective action that may be ordered by emergency officials when there is a significant threat to a specific area or community. Causes of an evacuation could include a natural, accidental or human-caused disaster such as a train derailment, industrial accident or severe weather.

Evacuate only when instructed to do so by your local emergency officials. In some cases, it may be safer to stay inside. 

Evacuation orders are typically broadcast through the media or delivered directly to homes and businesses by emergency responders. 

If ordered to evacuate, listen to media reports to learn about areas being evacuated and which routes are safest to take.

  • Follow the directions you are given about when to leave and where to go. Remain calm, do not speed and obey the directions as some roads may be closed or rerouted. 
  • If ordered to evacuate, take the following:
    • Your go bag
    • Your emergency kits (72-hour kit, pet emergency kit, go bag and vehicle emergency kit) 
    • Your emergency plan and important contact information
    • A mobile phone charger
    • Your pet(s) and their supplies
    • Essential medications 
  • Offer to assist neighbours who may not be able to evacuate on their own. If possible, make these arrangements in advance. 
  • Do not enter or return to an evacuate area unless emergency officials have given you instructions and permission to do so.

Health emergencies

The Hastings Prince Edward Public Health Unit (HPEPH) is a valuable resource during health-related emergencies, including pandemics, epidemics and those related to food and water safety. Public Health works with local emergency planning groups, hospitals and paramedic services.

Learn more or contact HPEPH for more information

What to do during a health emergency

  • Stay alert. Follow credible news sources for mentions or health emergencies, safety tips and steps you can take to stay safe. 
  • Be prepared. Gather supplies to prepare to stay at home for an extended period of time, including non-perishable food items, bottled water, cleaning supplies and prescriptions. Buy them slowly to ensure others are able to buy what they need.

Planning for people with special needs

Emergencies can create extra challenges for seniors and people with special needs. Plan ahead so you can better prepare for an emergency and personalize your plan to meet your needs and the needs of those in your household.

  • Develop a personal support network of at least three people you know and trust and who would help you during an emergency. 
  • If you receive home-based care (for example, a home care attendant or visiting nursing services), include your caregivers in your emergency planning. 
  • Keep a week-long supply of any prescriptions on hand. Plan with your doctor for emergency prescription refills and other necessary medical needs. Keep a week-long supply (or more) of your prescriptions on hand. 
  • If you have a service animal, remember to plan for their needs. 
  • Allow the person to describe the help they need and how you can help them. 
  • Speak calmly and provide assurance that you are there to help. 
  • Use person-centred language that puts people first.
  • Check on neighbours to find out if there are any seniors who may need your help during an emergency.

Find more information in the Government of Canada’s Emergency Preparedness Guide for People with Disabilities/Special Needs and the Government of Ontario’s Emergency Preparedness Guide for People with Disabilities.

Home escape plan

A home escape plan helps you and the members of your household escape quickly and safely during an emergency.

Make your home escape plan

  • Sketch a floor plan of your residence.
  • Know your exits. If possible, identify two ways out of every room. Plan escape routes from your home and your neighbourhood.
  • Identify a meeting place everyone in your household should go if you need to leave your home.
  • Prepare an evacuation kit. See page 9 for more information on how to build a go bag.
  • Identify and write down the locations of fire extinguishers and gas and water valves.
  • Practice your escape plan. Sit down with everyone in your home and discuss how each person will get out in the event of a fire.

Coping with an emergency

During or following a disaster or traumatic event, it is common for people to experience both a physical and emotional reaction. Here are some ways to help you cope: 

  • Recognize that how you feel is a normal reaction to an abnormal event.
  • Try to minimize change immediately after an emergency. Focus on getting back to normal.
  • Talk to family members, friends and neighbours. 
  • Listen to each other. Help with the daily, routine tasks. 
  • Get plenty of rest, eat healthy foods and exercise if possible. 
  • If needed, seek professional help from a counselor or support group. 

Check your insurance policy or contact your insurance company before a disaster strikes to know what your policy covers. Understanding what coverage you have will help you to recover after an emergency. If an emergency damages your home or possessions, take immediate steps to protect your property from further damage and contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Learn more on the Insurance Bureau of Canada website at www.ibc.ca.

Children may experience fear and anxiety after a traumatic event. It is important to acknowledge them and take them seriously. Here are some ways parents and caregivers can support their children:

  • Listen to their fears and concerns and encourage them to talk about it.
  • Reassure them about what is being done to return to a normal routine.
  • Provide children with information at an age-appropriate level.
  • Children may require extra time, support and comfort from parents and caregivers.

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Last Updated: 9 months ago

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