Emergency Kits & Supplies


Overview  l Lighting  l Food  l  Water  l Sanitation  l  Kits & Grab-n-Go Bags  l  Refererences & Links



In the event of a emergency or disaster you will need some basic supplies. Many items may already be in your home. It's just a question of taking some time and putting them together to create your emergency kit.


Emergency Lighting

  • Have alternate sources of lighting, such as flashlights, headlamps, camping lanterns, battery operated candles. If using candles as an alternate lighting source, NEVER leave it unattended and place it on a sturdy safe surface away from any fire fueling materials.
  • Have extra batteries available for any battery powered lighting sources as well as battery powered radios.


Emergency Food

In the event of an emergency, grocery stores and supermarkets will be diminished of supplies in a short period of time. While most emergencies extend over a few days, plan to prepare meals for yourself and your family for at least 7 days with no running water, power, or natural gas.

  • Consume your perishables first. Check the temperature of food in your refrigerator and freezer by using a metal stem digital food thermometer to measure the temperature of the food. Spoiled food does not always smell or look bad.
     - 40F (or 4C) or below - food should be SAFE to consume
     - 41F to 44F (or 5C to 6C) - COOK OR USE perishable foods right away
     - If frozen foods are partially or fully thawed, use right away
     - DISCARD if food temperature is 45F (or 7C) or higher
  • Customize meals to suit the needs of your household and to meet any dietary needs, however, take into consideration that alternate cooking methods might have to be used.
  • Give special consideration to any family members with special needs, such as babies, young children, pregnant women, elderly, and ill. 
  • Consider how family members/friends outside your household might cope. Would any other family members join your household in an emergency situation (parents, grandparents, neighbours)? If so, include them in your planning.
  • Select a variety of foods with a shelf life of at least 6 months.
  • Plan for alternate cooking methods and fuel. NEVER use gas ranges, propane heaters, BBQ's or camp stoves for indoor heating or cooking. Carbon monoxide gas can build up and cause suffocation.
  • Have supply of plastic/paper plates, cups, utensils, and paper towels etc.
  • Include a manual can opener.
  • Rotate your food supply every 6 months (March and November).


Emergency Water

How much do you need?

Have a one week pre-stocked emergency drinking water supply in your home. Most people will need to drink 2 litres or 8 cups of water each day. However, everyone's needs differ, depending upon age, physical condition, activity, diet, and climate. Hot weather and increased activity can increase this amount. The amount of water will also vary depending on the total amount of juices, soups, other drinks, and high moisture foods that are available.

  • Additional water will be required for food preparation and hygiene (hand washing, tooth brushing etc.) so consider storing an extra litre or 2 per day.
  • In general, store 4 litres per person/per day of expected need and don't forget about your pets!
  • Storing at least a 3 day supply is recommended, but consider a 1 week supply if you have space for it.

NOTE: If you do not have a prestock emergency water supply, please follow the guidelines of BC Health on how to disinfect drinking water.


What is the best source of emergency drinking water?

Your best option for emergency drinking water is commercially bottled water - purchased ahead of time!  It is also the most convenient as it:

  • Has an expiry date of 2 years (located on the cap or near the neck of the bottle).
  • Is free of disease-causing organisms, harmful chemicals, objectionable colour, and odour.
  • Is ready to drink.
  • Can be taken with you if you have to evacuate.



After a major disaster like an earthquake, water and sewage lines could be damaged, leaving you with no water or working toilets. It is important that you find sanitary ways to dispose of human waste.

  • Health officials advise us to separate solid waste from liquid waste. Urine is not considered a serious health problem. Collect urine in a separate container and dispose of it in green space.
  • Feces, on the other hand, is a source of many disease causing bacteria, including cryptosporidia and cholera and must be disposed of more carefully to prevent outbreak of disease.
  • You can use your existing toilet as container to collect feces in.
    • Duct tape the handle of the toilet to prevent flushing
    • Lift the toilet seat
    • Scoop out the water in the bowl,
    • Line the toilet bowl with a double large green garbage bag (to protect against leakage)
    • Put the seat back down.
    • After you use the toilet, cover the feces in the bag with several cups of hydrated lime which could be purchased from local nurseries. 
    • The hydrated lime will control odour, bacteria and flies which can spread disease. It also helps to dry out the waste in the bag so that when it is time to dispose of this waste, it will be easier to handle.
    • Use rubber gloves when handling lime.
    • Tie the bags tightly and store them temporarily in an outside dry garbage can with a tight fitting lid.

Listen to Public Health bulletins for instructions on how the bags should ultimately be disposed of.



After any disaster, stress will be high and immunity low. Children, the elderly and people with chronic health problems or weakened immune systems will be more vulnerable to - and seriously affected by - communicable diseases.

Health officials stress that hand-washing is the single most important practice that can protect you and your family members from getting a communicable disease. There must always be some method of hand-washing available to people after they use whatever toilet system is in place and before handling, preparing or eating food, especially in a situation where water is limited.

You don't need much water - one cup per hand for washing. Use liquid soap and dry hands with disposable paper towels, not cloth.

  • Pour ¼ cup of water on your hands to wet them
  • Apply plain liquid soap
  • Rub your hands together vigorously, palm to palm, interlaced fingers, back of each hand with palm of other hand
    • Your hands should be washed for a minimum of 20 seconds or to sing Happy birthday
  • Pour the remaining ¾ cup of water over your hands to rinse
  • Dry hands thoroughly with a paper towel
  • Dispose of paper towel


Kits and Grab-n-Go Bags



References & Links