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Prepare for an Emergency

How to prepare for an emergency

Make your own plan
Build an emergency preparedness kit
Get involved

Make your own plan

Talk with your family about potential disasters and why it’s necessary to prepare for them. Involve each member of your family in the planning process. By showing them simple steps that can increase their safety, you can help reduce their anxiety about emergencies.

Take care of yourself and loved ones during a natural disaster and ensure you are as safe and comfortable as possible during any emergency by taking the following steps: 

  1. Choose an out-of-area contact person. Designate someone that everyone in your family can call or e-mail during an emergency. Pick someone who is far enough away to not be affected by the same situation. Give this person the names and contact information of the people you want to keep informed of your situation. Family members should memorize this person’s contact information. Instruct them to call this person and tell them where they are if you get separated. 
  2. Know the safe places to be. Decide where to take shelter in your home during different situations such as hurricanes or earthquakes. Practice taking cover in the safe places at least once a year. Repeating this kind of safety drill – practicing exactly where to go and what to do – is important for everyone but especially for children so they know what to expect and don’t forget the instructions over time. 
  3. Duplicate important documents and keep copies off-site, either in a safety deposit box or with someone you trust. Documents may include: passport, drivers license, social security card, wills, deeds, financial statements, insurance information, marriage license, eyewear prescriptions and medical prescriptions. 
  4. Keep an inventory of your valuables, in writing and with photographs or video. Keep copies of this information off-site with your other important documents. 
  5. Prepare your home. 
  6. Put together an emergency kit. 
  7. When planning, consider the special needs of children, seniors, people with disabilities, and pets.

Make a household and family plan

  • Make sure everyone knows where to find your emergency kit and Go-bags.
  • Have a flashlight and a pair of shoes under everyone’s bed in case there is an earthquake during the night. Use a plastic bag tied to the leg of the bed to keep these items from moving during an earthquake.
  • Plan where to meet after a disaster if your home becomes unsafe. Choose two places, one just outside your home and one outside your neighbourhood in case you are told to evacuate. Be sure your gas tank is always at least half full.
  • Determine the best escape routes from your home. Try to identify two escape routes.
  • Make sure each member knows who your family’s out-of-area contact is and instruct them to call this person and tell him/her where they are.
  • Locate the gas main and other utilities and make sure family members know when and how to turn them off.
  • Practice your evacuation routes and stop, drop and roll drills.
  • Teach each member of your family how to use a fire extinguisher.
  • Create emergency response cards for each of your family members.
  • Take into account the special needs of children, seniors or people with disabilities, and pets.

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Build an emergency preparedness kit

During a crisis situation, there is a possibility that the usual services we take for granted, such as running water, electrical use, and telephone, may be unavailable. Experts recommend that you should prepare an emergency kit, which includes a Go-bag, in case a crisis should occur. 

Household emergency kit

When preparing your household emergency kit, plan to have supplies for yourself and your family for at least three days following a disaster. Store your household crisis kit in an easily accessible location, so you can grab it and go. Put contents in a large, watertight container (e.g. a large plastic garbage can with a lid and wheels) that you can move easily.

Your basic household emergency kit should include: 

  • Water – four litres per person per day (for up to three days) 
  • Food – ready to eat or requiring minimal water 
  • Manual can opener and other cooking supplies 
  • Plates, utensils and other supplies 
  • First aid kit and instructions 
  • A copy of important documents and phone numbers 
  • Warm clothes and rain gear for each family member 
  • Heavy work gloves 
  • Disposable camera 
  • Unscented liquid household bleach and an eyedropper for water purification 
  • Personal hygiene items including toilet paper, feminine supplies, hand sanitizer and soap 
  • Plastic sheeting, duct tape and utility knife for covering broken windows 
  • Tools such as a crowbar, hammer and nails, staple gun, adjustable wrench and bungee cords 
  • Blanket or sleeping bag 
  • Large heavy duty plastic bags and a plastic bucket for waste and sanitation 
  • Any special items for children and seniors or people with disabilities 
  • Don’t forget to include water and supplies for your pets.

The Go-bag

An important component to include in your emergency kit is your Go-bag, in case you must evacuate your home. Put the items listed below in a backpack or an easy-to-carry container. Prepare one Go-bag for each family member and make sure each is well identified with an I.D. tag. You may not be at home when an emergency occurs so keep some additional supplies in your car and at work, considering what you would need for your immediate safety.

Your Go-bag should include: 

  • Flashlight 
  • Radio – battery operated or hand crank 
  • Batteries 
  • Whistle 
  • Dust mask 
  • Pocket knife 
  • Emergency cash in small denominations and quarters for phone calls 
  • Sturdy shoes, a change of clothes, and a warm hat 
  • Local map 
  • Water and food 
  • Permanent marker, paper and tape 
  • Photos of family members and pets for re-identification purposes 
  • List of emergency point-of-contact phone numbers 
  • List of allergies to any drugs (especially antibiotics) or food 
  • Copy of health insurance and identification cards 
  • Extra prescription eye glasses, hearing aid or other vital personal items 
  • Prescription medications and first aid supplies 
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste 
  • Extra keys to your house and vehicle 
  • Any special items for children and seniors or people with disabilities 
  • Don’t forget to make a Go-bag for your pets

Vehicle emergency kit

Keep supplies in a separate pack such as a tote bag in your car in case you are “on the road” during an emergency.

Make a pack for each vehicle in your household containing the following items: 

  • Booster cables, tools and tow chains 
  • Shovel and sand, kitty litter or other traction aids 
  • Ice scraper and brush 
  • Bottled water — at least four litres 
  • Canned food and opener, dried fruit, cookies and crackers 
  • Outdoor clothing, footwear and a backpack 
  • Sleeping bag(s) or emergency thermal blankets 
  • First aid kit and manual 
  • Compass 
  • Flashlight and spare batteries 
  • Waterproof matches, “survival” candle in a deep can (to warm hands, heat a drink or use as an emergency light) 
  • Cloths or roll of paper towel, toilet paper, moist towelettes and small plastic bags 
  • Cash and coins 
  • Map of the region where you live 
  • Pen/pencil and paper 
  • Playing cards and colouring books for children 
  • Warning lights or road flares, axe or hatchet, fire extinguisher, methyl hydrate (for fuel line and windshield de-icing), seatbelt cutter 
  • If you do not already have a cellphone, and if the cellular network works in your area, you may want to consider having one with you in your car for emergencies 
  • Extra windshield washer fluid and antifreeze

*Remember to keep your gas tank at least half full all year round and nearly full in the winter. Gas pumps are likely to be unusable after a major disaster like an earthquake.

Workplace emergency kit


Keep the following items in a pack in your workplace in case you have to walk home or to safety: 
  • Gloves, walking shoes and outdoor clothing 
  • Emergency thermal blanket 
  • Flashlight 
  • Radio 
  • Batteries (stored in waterproof bags) 
  • Whistle (three short blasts is the recognized signal for help) 
  • Bottled water 
  • Dried fruit and nuts, high-energy food bars 
  • Small up-to-date photos of family for identification 
  • Paper with your name, home address and any special medical conditions

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Get involved

There are numerous ways you can get involved to help the City of Moncton be better prepared in the case of an emergency.

First aid training

Sign up for first aid and CPR training, and be sure to update your training according to national standards. The two following organizations offer first aid training: 

        Canadian Red Cross

        Saint John Ambulance New Brunswick Council


Help others by offering your services to a community organization. In Moncton, the Canadian Red Cross is often at the centre of emergency management operations, and requires the help of many volunteers. If you wish to sign up as a volunteer, contact the Moncton District Office at 506-863-2650 (for non-emergencies). 
To contact the Red Cross during an emergency: 1-800-222-9597 (24-hour line). 


To get involved in the community, set up a Neighbourhood Watch Program, get to know your neighbours or donate money to an established organization. For more information on how to establish a Neighbourhood Watch Program in your neighbourhood, please contact the Community Policing section of the Codiac RCMP by calling 506-857-2454 or drop by the RCMP offices at 520 Main Street in Moncton.

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