Family Emergency Planning Guide

When Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Scouting movement, was asked “Be prepared for what?” He responded, “Why, for any old thing.”
Well, that doesn’t narrow it down, does it? He’s right, but you need a roadmap.

How to Prepare for the Unexpected

Click Here to Download the Family Emergency Planning Guide

Emergency Preparedness Planning

When most people try to prepare, they make the same 3 mistakes:
– Focus on their fears (e.g. doomsday or whatever the trending hazard is)
– Think that having the “right” gadget, bag, or checklist will save them.
– Think they have to do everything all at once or spend a lot of money.

The plan itself is not as important as the planning process, or as important as practicing your plan. What good is a plan sitting on your shelf or refrigerator collecting dust? The important things are to identify your own planning needs, go through the thought process of what you would do in different circumstances, and to practice doing those things, so you can truly be prepared. This guide will not only help you develop a plan in a way that will have benefit to you as a process, but also as a result, as you continue to review and revise your plan as needed, you become more proficient in your response.

Initial Lifesaving Actions

Some emergencies are urgent emergencies and they require immediate attention. For these situations, you need to have a plan ahead of time for what to do, because you may not have time to figure it out during the emergency. In the next few pages, you will see links you can access for information about basic actions to take for some severe, deadly, or likely disasters, such as:

  • Fire
  • Earthquake
  • Tornado
  • Severe Bleeding
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Flooding
  • Active Shooter

For all of the above items, useful information can be found at: (American government preparedness plan) (Ontario government preparedness plan)

The best action would be to prepare a personal plan that suits an individual’s purpose by visiting these website ahead of time. It would be worth noting actionable items based on individual needs and putting those details on paper to have ready before an emergency arises.


Emergency Number                                       9-1-1


Fire – Non-Emergency       


EMS – Non-Emergency   


Police – Non-Emergency                             







Work / School #                                         



___________________                 Name      ___________________     

___________________                 Phone #  ___________________     


Out of Town Contact                                Family Dr.

___________________            Name           ___________________     

___________________            Phone #       ___________________     

Special Considerations

Identify any special considerations your family has, including pets, young children, elderly, special diets, allergies, prescription medications, access and functional needs, etc., and identify ways to adjust planning to provide for those needs. Does your workplace, children’s school, or family member’s assisted living center have an emergency plan? Ask for a copy so you know what to expect from them in an emergency and how they can help support you and your family.


Family Member                                   Special Considerations

___________________                        ___________________     

___________________                         ___________________     

___________________                         ___________________     

___________________                         ___________________     




Food Emergencies

Addressing food emergencies is another chapter in the preparedness planning phase. The following links will help with finding:

Food Banks in GTA:

Farms List across Ontario:

To get a list of various vegetable, fruits and meat farms in Ontario, please go to .
You can download a file of various Ontario farms which will provide a list of organic and non-organic farms.

Preparedness is a choose-your-own adventure journey. Nobody has all the answers for you, and the person who knows your needs the best is you.

One other important factor in recovery is mental health and dealing with trauma. It is not unusual for children or adults to have physiological responses to disasters, such as anxiousness, difficulty sleeping, bed-wetting, and more. Seek professional help if needed, and help your family understand that they should not feel bad if they experience anything of that nature. It is important for your family to mentally unwind from a stressful situation and understand each others’ points of view, and to know that they are no longer in danger. Keeping calm is important and can help family members to be calm, but that does not mean to ignore the situation or its effects on you and your family.

Recovery Planning

What you do AFTER an emergency can be just as important as what you do before or during. Recovery is the end goal of all your efforts; to get things back to normal.

Some things to consider to help you get back on your feet:

  • Insurance, home inventory, and ownership documents, like titles and deeds.
  • Vital records, such as birth, marriage, and adoption certificates.
  • Identification, such as drivers licenses, social security cards, and passports.
  • Financial documents, such as bank and credit card information, usernames and passwords to all online accounts, information for bills and utilities, and investment information.
  • Medical and legal information, such as wills, living wills, power of attorney, prescriptions, and vaccination records.
  • Digital backup/copies of all important information and documents.

Where important documents are stored: ____________

What else can we add????

You Need Before an Emergency:

  1. Water filtration system
  2. Water storage – flask for travelling
  3. Food – Dry foods – rice, grains – freeze dried foods
  4. Clothing – long life, warmer clothing, body warmers, long johns, wool socks, hats, gloves
  5. Warm blankets – wool, fleece, sleeping bags
  6. Home heating – supply and storage – Propane, wood
  7. Cooking – cast iron skillet
  8. Fuel – vehicle gas can – 10 – 15 litres of petrol
  9. Fuel – Woods, propane
  10. Washing powder
  11. Pet Food if you have animals
  12. Cleaning products – garbage bags – soap
  13. Prescription drugs
  14. First Aid kit
  15. Silver foil
  16. Can opener
  17. Lighting – flashlight, candles, matches/lighters
  18. Torches
  19. Axe and sharpening block
  20. Portable crank radio
  21. Whistle
  22. Maps
  23. Cash
  24. Silver, gold 1 oz coins
  25. Books
  26. Hardcopies of documents – Passport, Driver’s license
  27. Bar table items
  28. Power banks
  29. Batteries including rechargeables
  30. Tent other such camping gear

Ontario Farm to Table Food Suppliers: