Week 1: Get a large portable container with a lid to use as an emergency kit, preferably with wheels. Choose an accessible location for the container near an exit and label the container. Make sure all family members know what it will be used for and where it is.
Week 2: Stock your kit with at least a seven day supply of water for every family member and your pets. It is best to plan for four litres of water per person, per day—two for drinking and two for food preparation and hygiene. You might consider the addition of water purification tablets.
Week 3: Stock your kit with several varieties of packaged foods, canned meats, dried fruit and a manual can opener. If needed, include infant supplies like diapers, bottles, and formula. Plan for at least a seven day supply of food for each family member.
Week 4: Arrange an out-of-area phone contact person, and keep this and other emergency phone numbers near each telephone. Teach family members these numbers.
Week 5: Add food items and supplies for pets to your kit.
Week 6: Get a portable radio and extra batteries for your emergency kit.
Week 7: Learn about hazards. Know the hazards in your community. Find out if the area where you live is vulnerable to landslides, flooding, interface fires and do a home hazard hunt to make your home safer. Secure appliances and heavy furniture and move beds away from overhead objects.
Week 8: Prepare a first-aid kit that includes prescription medications, eyeglasses, bandages, sterile gauze pads, tape, scissors, tweezers, antibiotic ointment, hydrogen peroxide and other items such as over-the-counter pain pills.
Week 9: Give every family member specific safety tasks to do in an emergency. For example, designate one person to be in charge of turning off electricity, one to provide for those with special health needs, and one to look after pets.
Week 10: Identify safe places in your home and on your property. Plan and practice earthquake “drop, cover, hold” or evacuation drills using different escape routes. Know that your community may set up a reception centre for evacuees during an emergency.
Week 11: Identify a family meeting place away from home but close to your regular spots (between work and home or school).
Week 12: Add a flashlight with batteries, and candles and waterproof matches to your kit.
Week 13: Add some dried soups and other items to your emergency kit.
Week 14: Check your insurance policies and make records of your possessions.
Week 15: Stock your kit with both large and medium-sized plastic garbage bags (orange or yellow make good visible signals). Large bags can also be used as ponchos, ground covers or blankets. Add plastic or paper dishes and cups as well.
Week 16: Add a change of clothing for each family member to your kit. Be sure to include warm clothing, heavy work gloves and sturdy shoes.
Week 17: Add additional canned or freeze-dried food like stews, tuna fish, baked beans and vegetables to your kit.
Week 18: Enroll a family member in a first-aid course. Pack HELP/OK signs in your kit.
Week 19: Assemble important documents like wills, insurance papers, medical records, credit card numbers, and identification. Make copies and store originals in a fireproof/ waterproof container that will be accessible if your home is damaged.
Week 20: Add personal items such as toilet paper, handi-wipes, soap, detergent, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, and sanitary supplies to your emergency kit.
Week 21: Add evaporated, canned or powdered milk to your kit.
Week 22: Get a large bucket with a tight-fitting lid to use as a toilet, and put it with your emergency kit. Use the bucket to store other emergency tools like an ax, a folding shovel and rope.
Week 23: Add sleeping bags or blankets (foil blankets take up less space) and consider adding plastic emergency ponchos to your kit.
Week 24: Add more canned, freeze-dried, or dehydrated food products to your kit until you have at least a three-day supply for each family member.
Week 25: Add a pocket knife, cutlery, a whistle and spare set of house and car keys, and items like books, toys and cards.
♦ Week 26: Meet with neighbours to discuss emergency preparations and the possibility of sharing items such as generators.