Get Prepared to Recover

Get Prepared to Recover

Evacuation Plan

  • Know the risks and have an evacuation plan.
  • Have at least 2 escape routes out of your home, office and neighbourhood.
  • Have a reunification plan for your family members and pets, including safe meeting places
  • Have an out-of- area contact person.
  • Address any mobility or other special needs of members of your household.
  • Have Grab & Go Bags ready for each person in the house, including your pets.
  • Make a list of all your important contact information and copy any important documents, including insurance policies that you will need during and after the emergency.  Keep copies in your all your emergency kits.
  • Listen to the radio and trusted social media for information on the emergency, what to do and where to go.
  • Extend your plan to places where you regularly spend your time, including office, school, daycare and playground.
  • Ensure everyone in your household knows about the plan, especially the location of the safe meeting place and who your out-of-area contact person is.
  • If you own a business or are working, make sure there is an evacuation plan for your place of business and everyone is prepared at home. 

Be sure you have adequate insurance to cover losses suffered in a disaster.  Remember, government assistance only covers uninsurable perils.

Practice your evacuation plan when you check your Emergency Kits.

Evacuation stages:

Stage 1 – Alert
Activate your plan and get ready to evacuate. 
Stage 2 – Order
Evacuate.  Depending on the emergency, there may be no time for an ALERT. 
Stage 3 – Rescind
The area is considered safe again and you can return home.

Do not move on to the next stage until told to do so by authorities. 

Emergency Grab & Go Bag      

When you need to evacuate            

Always have a Grab & Go Bag ready in the event that you need to evacuate your home, office or the places where you play.  This kit contains the basic items to meet your needs for 6-12 hours.  You should have a grab & go kit for each member of your family, including your pets.

  • Medications, copies of prescriptions
  • Copies of important documents, identification & contact Information
  • Recent pictures of yourself, family and pets
  • Extra keys for house & car
  • Cash—coins and small bills
  • Chargers and adapters for phones and other electronics you have included in your bag.
  • Supplies for equipment required to meet your functional needs 
  • Pens and paper
  • Sturdy shoes
  • One liter of water
  • High-energy snacks
  • Flashlight & batteries
  • Battery or wind up radio
  • Spare eyeglasses
  • Small first aid kit
  • Emergency blanket
  • Warm clothing (sweater, socks…)
  • Scarf or dust mask
  • Whistle
  • Orange garbage bag
  • HELP/OK sign

Store your Grab & Go Bags near an exit or someplace where you can grab them and get out.

Keep all your bags current.  Check them at least once a year.   

Pet Kits

When you need to evacuate

  • Nonperishable pet food
  • Manual can opener and lids for open cans
  • Bottled water
  • Food and water dishes
  • Collar, leash, harness and sturdy pet carrier
  • Pet waste supplies
  • Litter and litter box
  • Towels and blankets
  • Pet first-aid, medications and vaccination  records
  • Current picture with owner
  • Current pet tags

Use this list as a guide for building your pet grab & go and shelter-in-place kits.  Make sure the items and amounts are appropriate for each pet.
Develop a pet plan for your neighbourhood, in case you or other others are not at home at the time of the emergency.


Vehicle Kits

A vehicle kit is in addition to your personal grab & go kits.  It should include such items as booster cables, everything you need to change a tire, a tow line, flashlight and batteries, maps, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, basic tools, gloves and sturdy shoes. 
Always keep your gas tank half full or more. 

Shelter-in-Place Emergency Kit

When you need to shelter in place

Be prepared for you and your family to be self-sufficient for a minimum of 7 days!  This enables you to shelter in or near your own home when it is safe to do so while you are beginning the recovery process.


You will need:

Emergency water: a minimum of 4 liters of drinkable water per person per day and the appropriate daily requirement for each pet for 7 days. 

Emergency food: 7 days of meals for everyone in your household including your pets.  Make sure they can be easily prepared, with minimal equipment, heat source and water.

All Grab & Go Bag items PLUS the following;

  • Manual can opener
  • Medications (1-2 weeks) and first aid supplies
  • Seasonal clothing and sturdy shoes
  • Toiletries, toilet paper
  • Shelter (tents, sleeping bags) 
  • Tools, gloves, tarps and ropes

You can build your own kits or purchase them from organizations and stores specializing in emergency supplies.   

Store your Shelter-in-Place emergency supplies in backpacks, duffel bags, tote boxes or garbage cans in an accessible place such as a closet, mudroom, garage or shed.

Make sure everyone in your home knows where the kits are kept.  Check the contents regularly and replace outdated items.
Talk to your neighbours about their evacuation and shelter-in-place plans and how you can work together to ensure everyone’s preparedness and safety. 

For more information, watch these helpful 'Get your Kit Together' videos: 

Grab and Go:






Practice your plan!

Practice your plan with your family at least once a year. Include a fire drill and an earthquake drill as part of your practice session. If you are near a tsunami inundation zone, know what to do.

More ideas on how you and your family can respond to and recover from an emergency or disaster: 

  1. Emergencies caused by earthquakes, severe winter weather, power outages, fires, or industrial accidents can occur anytime, anywhere. Practical steps toward emergency preparedness begin by knowing the risks that could effect you and your neighbourhood. Look over your home and identify vulnerabilities, plan how to respond to those issues.
  2. Develop an evacuation plan for where you live, work, go to school and where you play. Practice each step of your plan regularly. Include family, friends and neighbours in your practice, so that everyone knows what to expect and how to implement their specific role.
  3. Choose a family safety word that can be used to verify identity or information. Use it regularly so that you all remember the word.
  4. If your family includes pets, make sure each pet has its own emergency kit. It should include your pet’s medications/vaccination info, sturdy leather gloves/muzzle, crate/carrier/cage, food & water for at least 7 days, food & water bowls, can opener & lids for open cans, collar with ID tag, leash, toys, towel & grooming supplies, bags/litter for pet waste, treats, and a current photo of you with your pet.
  5. Pets may not be allowed in emergency reception or group lodging centres. Therefore you should have a plan for where your pet can stay if you need to evacuate. Talk with family and friends who live nearby and might be able to look after your pet until you can return to your home.
  6. If you have to evacuate and are unable to take your pet with you, post a sign in a visible location to let rescue workers know the type and description of your pets. Leave food and water in spill-proof containers. Do not cage larger pets if leaving them alone in the house. Rodents and small animals should be left in cages large enough and with adequate bedding to maintain them for several days. Keep in mind that many exotic pets are not cold tolerant. Talk with your vet or exotic pet dealer about special needs for birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish.
  7. In an emergency, take care of yourself and your family. Rest often, eat well and drink plenty of water. Accept help from others and ask for help when you need it. Practice coping skills you have used at other difficult times, get plenty of physical activity, give someone a hug, and focus on positive memories.
  8. During and after emergencies, be alert to warning signs of stress in yourself and others, such as: short tempers, frequent arguments, greater consumption of alcohol, difficulty sleeping, bad dreams, aches, pains, stomach problems, apathy, or depression. Seek help if you need it.  There are many organizations that can provide counseling and other support.
  9. Encourage children to express themselves. Take their fears seriously, reassure them and give them additional attention. Admit to them that you also felt afraid, but with time and possibly some outside help you will work it out together. Keep children with you whenever possible, and tell them what you know about the situation. Be honest, but gentle. Avoid or minimize watching news reports of frightening events. Give children real tasks to do, something that helps the family get back on its feet. Continue with regular routines and chores. Expect regressive behavior and be tolerant of it.
  10. Plan to take essential items and valuables with you when you evacuate. These may include eyeglasses, hearing aids and medical aids, vital medications, important legal documents, identification, credit cards, cheques, insurance policies, money, jewellery, photos and other items of sentimental value that can be easily transported.  Do NOT re-enter your home to retrieve these items until you know it is safe to do so.
  11. Plan how you will get your family settled with family or friends or in temporary housing arranged through the local Emergency Support Services if you are required to evacuate from your home.  Try to stay together - togetherness provides mutual support.  Plan how to reunite if you become separated. If you are insured, contact your agent or insurance company.
  12. Even if you are insured, if your house is damaged, it is your responsibility to make sure it is secured against further damage. You may need to board up broken windows and doors, cover holes in the roof and walls, drain water lines to prevent freezing. If your property is looted, contact the police immediately.  If you rent, contact the building owner or property manager to let them know what is happening. 
  13.  Keep a small amount of cash in low denominations (coins, $5s and $10s) in your emergency kit.
  14.   Keep tarps and rope or a tent and several pairs of work gloves, in your emergency kit.
  15.  A camp stove or barbecue can be used to cook food and boil water. However, never use a camp stove or barbecue indoors, as harmful gases may accumulate. If you don’t have an outdoor cooking device, get to know neighbours who do. Several families might arrange to share an outdoor cooker.  Those without barbecues can offer to contribute extra fuel.
  16.  Learn what to do in case of power outages. Plan for alternative sources of power if you require the use of essential life-support equipment.
  17.  Emergency response actions will become quicker and more easily implemented with practice. Take time to practice escape routes, operating your fire extinguisher and turning off water valves.  Review how to turn off your gas valve. Note: if you turn off a gas main for any reason, it must only be turned back on by a professional.
  18. Master the skill of giving quick information on how best to assist you. Refer to a photo log if you have difficulty communicating.
  19.  Keep your important document kit up to date by reviewing it at least annually.
  20. Make a list of your medications and indicate if you have allergies. Identify your needs for assistive equipment such as a walker, scooter, oxygen, etc. Be sure to review and update the list at least annually.
  21. Check your emergency kit annually to be sure all equipment is up-to-date and functional. Restock food and water, review contact information and medications, check flashlights and radios.  Replace batteries as needed.
  22. Make a plan for returning home after an emergency. Some things to consider: Stay out of damaged buildings, return only when authorities say it is safe. Before going inside, carefully look around the outside of your building for signs of damage or danger. Stay 10 meters (33 feet) away from fallen power lines. If you smell ‘rotten egg’ odour, move away from the building until you can no longer smell the odour.  Call the gas company immediately.  Stay away from standing water as it can carry electrical current. If it is safe to do so, take photos for insurance claims.
  23. Other things to consider - If it is safe to enter your home, move carefully inside the house.  Damage may have occurred where you least expect it. Check for electrical damage and water and sewage leaks.  Examine walls, floors, doors, staircases and windows to make sure the building is not in danger of collapsing.
  24.  Attend one of the free Emergency Preparedness training workshops conveniently held several times each year in Oak Bay. Pick up guidance brochures, review them with your family, and keep them in a file for quick reference.