Make an Emergency Plan

Learn how to make an emergency plan to care for yourself and your family during a disaster.

Disasters often cause confusion and distress. A household plan will help you cope with the stress of an emergency or disaster.

Consider that your family may not be together when an emergency occurs and discuss what you would do in different situations.

The Emergency Preparedness guide (PDF, 2.0 MB) has more information about how you can prepare and care for your family during an emergency.

Emergency contact list

A list of emergency numbers should be kept in your home and on your cellphone – include the work and cellphone numbers for each person in your family or home. Consider creating contact cards for each family member to keep on them at all times.

Read Communicating during an emergency for more information.

Use the Emergency contact card (PDF, 58 KB) as a template for your family’s emergency contact list.


Be mindful when talking about emergencies with children. Remind them that if an emergency happens, someone will be there to help. Talk to your children about people they can count on such as:

  • firefighters
  • police
  • teachers
  • neighbours
  • emergency workers

Tell your children what about your emergency contact list including who each number is for and put a contact list for their school in their backpacks.

Personal Preparedness Course

Take some time to learn about and create your family emergency plan using our online interactive course. When you finish the course, you will have your own personalized emergency plan, ready to print.

Family preparedness

Family with special needs

Establish a personal support network of people who understand your special needs including:

  • friends
  • relatives
  • health-care providers
  • co-workers and neighbours who understand how to help.

Write down details about:

  • accommodation needs
  • insurance information
  • emergency contacts
  • medical history including:
    • medication
    • conditions
    • allergies
    • recent vaccinations
    • surgeries
    • mobility needs

Keep a copy of this information in your emergency kit and give a copy to your personal support network.

Talk to your doctor about preparing a grab-and-go bag, if possible, with a 2 week supply of medication and medical supplies. Include prescriptions and medical documents. Remember that pharmacies may be closed for some time, even after an emergency is over. You will also want to have copies of personal identification stored to avoid challenges filling prescriptions.

Keep in mind, not all evacuation centers will have access to refrigerators and additional steps may need to be taken if your medications require a cool environment.

For more information, visit Emergency Preparedness Guide for People with Disabilities / Special Needs.


Ask your children’s school or daycare about their emergency policies. Find out how they will contact families during an emergency. Find out what type of authorization the school or daycare requires to release your children to a designated person if you cannot pick them up. Make sure the school or daycare has updated contact information for parents, caregivers and designated persons.

Read Helping children during emergencies for more information.

Work and living


A connected community is a more resilient community. Connecting and building relationships with your neighbours today means a better outcome in the event of an emergency. Consider planning a community bbq or block party so you can strengthen relationships and build new connections with the people in your neighbourhood. This can help you identify people who may need extra help during an emergency.


Learn about the emergency evacuation plans in the workplace and your role in the event of an emergency. You may want to have some basic supplies at work such as water and food that will not spoil.

Rural living

The Rural Emergency Plan is an online tool that can help you prepare your ranch, farm or acreage for an emergency.



In case of an evacuation, remember that pets are not allowed in some public shelters or hotels because of certain health regulations. Take steps to identify pet-friendly hotels or pet boarding facilities in and out of your local area. In case of an evacuation, be prepared to leave your pets with a relative or friend. Have your pet kit ready to ensure your pets’ needs can be met.

Read the Emergency kit checklist for pets for more information.

Farm animals

For information about how to prepare farm animals for an emergency, read Emergency preparedness for farm animals.