Ministry of the
Solicitor General



Ontario Seniors: How to Be Prepared for an Emergency

The people of Ontario have faced all kinds of emergencies, from ice storms and power outages to tornadoes and industrial accidents. We will face more in the future.

Emergencies can strike at any time so being prepared is critical since it can take time for help to arrive.

That’s why everyone should have an emergency plan and kit to take care of themselves for at least three days.

Your emergency plan should reflect your personal circumstances and unique needs.

Step 1: Make a Plan

In an emergency, you may not have access to everyday conveniences and you may be asked to evacuate your home. Thinking about what you would do is the first step to being prepared.

Your Plan Should Include

  • Two safe locations in case you have to leave your home. One should be nearby, such as a local library or community centre. The other one should be farther away in case the emergency affects a large area.
  • A family communications plan. During an emergency, local telephone lines and networks may not work. Identify one or two out-of-town contacts you and loved-ones can call to connect and share information.
  • A list of the people in your personal support network. This includes all the people who will be able to help when you need it. Consider including family members, neighbours, and health-care and personal support workers.

Planning Tips

  • Contact service providers. If someone in your home gets routine treatment outside the home or support services at home, work with the service provider on a back-up plan.
  • Have a buddy. Consider giving an extra set of keys to someone you trust and let them know where you keep your emergency kit. Arrange for that person to check on you during an emergency.
  • Be ready to evacuate. Plan how you would travel to a safe location if evacuation was advised. Have an emergency survival kit ready (see Step 2).
  • Plan for your pet(s). Often, only service animals are allowed at reception centres. If possible, identify someone who can take your pet(s) if you have to leave your home.
  • Consider your living situation. Do you live in an isolated community? In a high-rise? Do you or someone you live with have limited mobility? Be familiar with evacuation plans, and talk to your building manager or neighbours to make special arrangements, if necessary.

When Your Plan Is Ready

  • Discuss your plan with your family and friends.
  • Teach others about any special needs, such as how to use medical equipment or administer medicine.
  • Practice your plans with those who have agreed to be part of your personal support network.
  • Be aware and follow instructions. Stay tuned to the news before and during an emergency. Follow the advice of first responders and officials.

Other Tips

Contact your local municipal office to find out what phone number to use to get more information during an emergency (211, 311 or other). Use 911 only when someone needs help right away to protect their health, safety or property. Also ask if they have a registry for “vulnerable persons” and whether you should be signed up.

Sign up for alerts. You can sign up online for free emergency alerts sent by email or text message. Visit and follow the links.

Step 2: Build An Emergency Kit

Your emergency survival kit should have everything you need to be safe and take care of yourself and your family for at least three days. This checklist outlines all the essentials, items to meet your unique needs, and items to have ready in case you have to leave your home.

What to Put in Your Survival Kit


  • Food & can opener (non-perishable and easy-to-prepare items, enough for 3 days)
  • Water (4 litres per person for each day)
  • Flashlight
  • Radio (crank or battery-run)
  • Extra batteries
  • Hand sanitizer or moist towelettes
  • First-aid kit
  • Medication(s)
  • Important papers (identification, contact lists, copies of prescriptions, etc.)
  • Cash (and extra car keys)
  • Whistle (to attract attention, if needed)

Special Considerations

  • Medical supplies and equipment (cane, walker, hearing aid and batteries, breathing device, etc.)
  • Prescription eyewear and footwear
  • Dentures and supplies
  • Pet food and supplies if you have a pet

Extra Supplies for Evacuation

  • Clothes, shoes
  • Sleeping bag or blanket
  • Personal items (soap, toothpaste, other toiletries)
  • Playing cards or travel game

Other Tips

  • Place all these items in an easy-to-carry bag or case on wheels.
  • Keep your emergency survival kit in a place that is easy to reach.
  • Keep your cell phone or mobile device fully charged.


Fill the following forms and keep in a location where you and others can find it. Update it as needed. Keep a copy in your emergency survival kit.

My Support Network

List the people who already assist you and others who could help you in an emergency: doctors, pharmacists, personal support workers, in-home health-care workers (including back-up providers), as well as family, friends, and neighbours.

 Support Network

My Safe Locations

In an emergency, you may need to leave your home. List two locations you would go to, one close, the other one farther away (outside your neighbourhood). Some examples include a local library, place of worship, or community centre.

 Safe locations

My Family Communications Plan

In emergencies, local telephone and email networks can be affected. Identify someone outside your town/city that you and other family members can contact to connect and share information. If an out-of-town choice is not available, consider a community or cultural centre.

 Family Communications Plan

Important Medical Information

For each person in your household, note any medical conditions and special needs, as well as medications and devices.

dical Condition


Location of My Emergency Survival Kit

Make a note of where your kit is stored, so others can find it easily if they are assisting you.

cation of my Emergency Survival Kit