Preparing Your Home & Evacuation

Preparing Your Home

Go through your home with other household members and imagine what could happen to each part of it during a violent earthquake, hurricane, or other disaster scenario. Teach everybody in the household how to turn off the water, electricity, and gas. Clearly label the on / off positions for these utilities. If your home is equipped with natural gas, tie or tape the appropriate wrench on the pipe to turn off the gas.

Make an inventory of the valuable things you own and keep a video or photographs of them for insurance purposes. Ensure that these and other important documents (wills, powers of attorney, insurance policies, stocks and bonds, family records, passports, social insurance cards, health care cards, credit card and account numbers, important telephone numbers) are stored safely in a waterproof area or box.

Always keep a class ABC fire extinguisher handy and make sure each member of your family knows how to use it. If you cannot extinguish a small fire with a portable fire extinguisher, or if the smoke becomes hazardous, leave the area. Close the door to contain the fire. Warn others of the danger, call 9-1-1 and wait outside for firefighters to arrive.

Taking Shelter

If you are advised by local authorities to “shelter-in-place”, you must remain inside your home or office and protect yourself there. The following steps to maximize your protection are recommended:

  • Close and lock all windows and exterior doors.
  • Turn off all fans, heating, and air-conditioning systems.
  • Close the fireplace damper.
  • Get your emergency kit and ensure the radio is working.
  • Go to an interior room that is above ground level and without windows, if possible.
  • Using duct or other wide tape, seal all cracks around the door and any vents into the room
  • Continue to monitor the radio and television until you are told it is safe or you are advised to evacuate.

Evacuating Safely

If local authorities ask you to leave your home, it is because there is good reason to request this and you should heed their advice. Listen to your radio or television and follow the instructions of your local emergency officials. Here are some tips commonly recommended during an evacuation:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and sturdy shoes so you can be protected as much as possible.
  • Take your emergency kit and cellular telephone.
  • Take small valuables and papers, but travel light.
  • Lock your home and don’t forget the key.
  • Go to the designated meeting place in your family plan.
  • Use travel routes specified by local authorities. Don’t use shortcuts because certain areas may be dangerous or impassable.
  • If you go to an evacuation centre, sign in with the registration desk so you can be contacted and reunited with your family and loved ones.
  • Get in touch with your out-of-area emergency contact person and let them know what has happened, that you are safe, and how to contact you. Alert them to any separated family members.
  • Listen to local, provincial, or territorial authorities for the most accurate information about what is happening. Stay tuned to local radio and television and follow their instructions.
  • If you have time, take your pets with you. If they are not permitted in public shelters, follow your plan to go a friend’s home or pet-friendly hotel.
  • Leave a note saying where you are going. Register at any local registration inquiry centre so you can be contacted when it is safe to return home.
  • If instructed to do so, turn off water, electricity, and gas before leaving.

Further information may be obtained from: