Cynthia Pommainville

Essential Items to Include in Your Emergency Kit

Do you keep an emergency kit at home or in your car? Unexpected situations such as a prolonged power outage can occur at any time. Just think of the 1998 ice storm or the closure of Highway 13 during a blizzard. Would you be able to last for several hours or even days? Here are some essential items to keep in your home or car so you can be ready for any emergency!

What to include in your home emergency kit

In some regions, power outages happen quite frequently. When an outage lasts several days, an emergency kit really comes in handy. The Quebec government recommends that you keep an emergency kit on hand with enough items to meet the basic needs of your household for three days.

Here are some examples of essential items that household members will need for a minimum of three days:

  • Non-perishable food items.
  • An adequate supply of drinking water, or two litres per person, per day. In other words, for two people over a three-day period, you would need a total of 12 litres of water.
  • Diapers, milk and baby food for families with young children.
  • Pet food.
  • Fuel in your vehicle’s gas tank in case you need to leave quickly.

The above list covers essential items to meet your basic needs. However, you can always prepare a more comprehensive emergency kit for maximum comfort in the event of a power outage. Here are a few examples of additional items:

  • Medications, especially the ones you are usually prescribed.
  • Blankets to keep warm.
  • Flashlights (battery-powered or wind-up).
  • Spare batteries.
  • Manual can opener.
  • Candles and something to light them with.
  • First aid kit.
  • Cash.

You could also consider getting a backup generator for your home to power your electrical appliances and keep you warm. An outdoor BBQ can also be used to replace a traditional oven — outside, of course. It is crucial to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for this type of equipment.

What to include in your car emergency kit

When you think of essential emergency items for your car, the first thing that probably comes to mind is jumper cables, also known as booster cables. However, did you know that Public Safety Canada’s list includes more than 15 items?

Public Safety Canada divides these items into two categories: things to keep in your car at all times and things to include in an emergency kit.

Items to keep in your car at all times:

  • Sand or salt.
  • Windshield washer fluid.
  • Tow cable.
  • Jumper (booster) cables.
  • Fire extinguisher.
  • Warning light or road flares.

Items to keep on hand in case of emergency:

  • Non-perishable food items.
  • Drinking water.
  • Blanket.
  • Change of clothes and shoes.
  • First aid kit and knife.
  • Snow shovel and snow brush.
  • Wind-up flashlight.
  • Whistle.

While this list may seem excessive, let’s not forget the night of March 13, 2017, when a section of Highway 13 was completely blocked for 12 hours due to snow. An emergency kit would have been very helpful for those drivers!

Luckily, there’s no need to run out and track down all these items individually. Many big box retailers carry kits that contain most of these items. Generally, the price of a ready-to-use emergency kit ranges from $50 to $100.

While these lists are merely suggestions, we advise you to keep some of these items at home or in your car to make sure you’re ready for anything!

Insurance: another way to protect yourself

Unusual weather can often be caused by climate change and is becoming increasingly common. Luckily, you can improve your home insurance coverage to protect yourself from these scenarios. Certain types of flood and earthquake coverage can be added through an endorsement.

Contact your insurance broker to find out more. If you experience this type of situation outside our opening hours, our emergency line is available 24/7 at 1-866-767-3339.

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Cynthia Pommainville Personal-Lines Underwriting Director
Damage Insurance Broker
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