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What you should keep in your emergency supply kit


Could you survive for 72 hours following a natural disaster?

The Region of Waterloo is hoping that question sparks a conversation around emergency preparedness.

“Everyone should be prepared for an emergency. It’s not if… it will happen,” said Judy Green, the community emergency management coordinator for the City of St. Catharines.

Whether its fire, flood or a loss of power, the region is encouraging residents to take action by signing up to Alert Waterloo Region, a service that sends out important public safety messages during an emergency.

According to Franz Tschoegl, public education officer for the Kitchener Fire Department, vital information will be directly shared with people through the notification system.

“[It will] immediately send out the message to people via text [or] email to let you know that you need to stay in place for a few days, you need to evacuate or at least give you information as to what’s actually happening,” he explained.

“People need to have a plan as to where they are going to go if they’re being evacuated or what their plan is for staying and sheltering in place,” Green added.

Stocking your emergency supply

Green said an emergency supply kit should cover the 72 hours immediately after disaster strikes.

She suggests starting with the things you already have in your home, putting those together in a bag and then making a list of anything else you need. When those items go on sale, add those to your kit too.

“The idea is to have enough supplies if there’s a power outage or if the stores are closed,” Tschoegl said.

Here are some essentials to keep in your emergency kit:

  • Food - non-perishable and easy-to-prepare items, enough for three days
  • Manual can opener
  • Bottled or bagged water - four litres per person for each day
  • Backup water purification tablets
  • Required medication(s)
  • Toilet paper
  • Personal items such as soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) like medical masks and respirators
  • Back up chargers and power banks for cell phone or mobile devices
  • Cash - small bills
  • Portable light source such as a flashlight, headlamp or glow stick
  • Radio - crank or battery-run
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Candles, matches and a lighter
  • Hand sanitizer or moist towelettes
  • Important papers such as a copy of your emergency plan, identification, contact lists, copies of prescriptions, etc.
  • Extra car and house keys
  • Whistle - to attract attention, if needed
  • Zip-lock bags to keep things dry
  • Garbage bags
  • Duct tape

The team at K-W Surplus said it’s important to go through your kit every few months and to start small if space is an issue.

“If you don’t have a basement, you would have to use a cupboard. So actually the storage boxes are a great idea,” suggested Assistant Manager Don Roy.

The message is clear. It’s all about preparation for when – not if – an emergency occurs. Top Stories

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