Your Family’s Emergency Kits

All families should have two emergency kits: a Ready-to-Stay Kit and a Ready-to-Go Kit. These two kits will help you survive 72 hours, whether you stay in your home or need to evacuate. It is also a good idea for each family vehicle to have an Emergency Vehicle Kit. Your Ready-to-Stay Kit should include the items you will need to stay safe at home for a few days and your Ready-to-Go Kit will include items that you will need to take with you in the event of an emergency.

Ready-to-Stay Kit

Your Ready-to-Stay Kit should include the items you will need to stay safe at home for a few days. You can keep these things at home in a plastic tub or a special cabinet. In an emergency, you will need some basic supplies. You may need to get by without power or tap water. Be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours. You may have some of the items already, such as food, water and a battery operated or crank flashlight. The key is to make sure they are organized and easy to find. Ask yourself, would you be able to find your flashlight in the dark?

Basic Ready-to-Stay Kit

  • Water – at least two litres of drinking water per person per day; include small bottles that can be carried easily in case of an evacuation order
  • Food that won’t spoil, such as canned food, energy bars and dried foods (replace food and water as needed or when you change your clocks)
  • Manual can opener
  • Crank or battery-powered flashlight (and extra batteries – note: check batteries when you change your clocks)
  • Crank or battery-powered radio (and extra batteries – again check batteries when you change your clocks)
  • First aid kit
  • Extra keys to your car and house
  • Some cash in smaller bills, such as $10 bills and change for payphones
  • If applicable, other items such as prescription medication, infant formula, equipment for people with disabilities, or food, water and medication for your pets or service animal (personalize according to your needs)

Recommended Additional Items

  • Two additional litres of water per person per day for cooking and cleaning
  • Candles and matches or lighter (place candles in sturdy containers and do not burn unattended)
  • Change of clothing and footwear for each household member
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each household member
  • Toiletries
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Utensils
  • Garbage bags
  • Toilet paper
  • Household chlorine bleach or water purifying tablets
  • Basic tools (hammer, pliers, wrench, screwdrivers, work gloves, dust mask, pocket knife)
  • Small fuel operated stove and fuel (follow manufacturer’s directions and store properly)
  • A whistle (in case you need to attract attention)
  • Duct tape (to tape up windows, doors, air events, post signs, etc.) • Paper and felt pens for making signs in your windows if necessary

Pre-Packaged Kits

Canadian Red Cross Ready-to-Stay Kits are available at St. John Ambulance and Salvation Army emergency kits can be purchased at or from retailers across Canada. Visit or call 1 800 O-Canada (1-800-622-6232) for a listing of retailers by province and territory.

Ready-to-Go Kit

Keep Ready-to-Go Kit items in a backpack, duffle bag or suitcase, in an easy-to-reach, accessible place, such as your front-hall closet. Make sure your kit is easy to carry and everyone in the household knows where it is. Take it with you if you have to leave your home so you can be safe.

Recommended Items for Ready-to-Go Kits

  • Two (2) litres of water for each person
  • Food that you don’t have to keep cold and a manual can opener
  • Plastic or paper plates, cups, and utensils
  • Flashlight and extra batteries (check batteries when you change your clocks)
  • Radio with batteries (again check batteries)
  • A change of clothes
  • A card with emergency contact information and the number of someone to call who lives out of town
  • Pet food and supplies for at least three days
  • Small first aid kit
  • Personal identification card
  • Personal hygiene items, soap and hand sanitizer
  • Store medicine you usually take near your Ready-To-Go Kit
  • Cash in smaller currencies

Emergency Vehicle Kit

The Emergency Vehicle Kit should include:

  • Blanket
  • Candle in a deep can and matches
  • Extra clothing and shoes
  • First aid kit with seatbelt cutter
  • Flashlight (crank or battery-powered – if batterypowered, check batteries when you change your clock)
  • Food that won’t spoil (such as energy bars)
  • Radio (crank or battery-powered – again check batteries)
  • Small shovel, scraper and snowbrush
  • Warning light or road flares
  • Water
  • Whistle
  • Antifreeze
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Road maps
  • Sand, salt or cat litter (non-clumping)
  • Tow rope and jumper cables