Emergency Preparedness

Emergency preparedness starts with you, be ready: Make a plan, build a kit and stay informed. ontario.ca/beprepared

On this page

  1. Preparing for Emergencies
    1. Be informed (top risks in Champlain and where to get emergency information)
    2. Make a plan (household plan, workplace plan and plan for children, seniors and pets)
    3. Build an emergency kit (basic kit items, additional items, for individuals with special needs, car emergency kit, pet emergency kit)
  2. During an Emergency
    1. When to call 9-1-1
    2. Evacuations
    3. On the road
    4. What you should do during an emergency (flooding, severe winter weather, human health emergencies and epidemics, explosions, fire, forest fire, drought, hail and lightning storms, hurricanes – windstorms - tornadoes)
  3. After an Emergency
    1. Re-entering your home
    2. Children and Emergencies
    3. Coping with a disaster
    4. Insurance

Preparing for Emergencies

All it takes is three simple steps to get prepared for emergencies:

1. Be Informed

Although the consequences of different disasters can be alike, knowing the risks in your region can help you better prepare. In Champlain, we face a number of hazards, such as floods, and ice storms. In addition to natural disasters, there are other types of hazards, such as industrial or transportation accidents.

Top risks in Champlain Township include:

  •  Flooding
  • Severe Winter Weather (Snow Storm, Blizzard, Ice, Sleet Storm)
  • Human Health Emergencies and Epidemics
  • Terrorism - Sabotage
  • Widespread Electrical Disruption
  • Loss of Telecommunications
  • Explosions, Fire, Forest Fire
  • Drought
  • Hailstorms
  • Lightning Storms
  • Hurricanes – Windstorms - Tornadoes

Know where to get Emergency information

 Local Information
 Alert Ready
Through wireless devices:
  • Alert Ready delivers emergency alerts to Canadians through wireless devices.
  • To learn more about the system and check your mobile phone’s compatibility visit www.alertready.ca

2. Make a Plan

Household Plan

Preparing for an emergency is important. By taking a few simple steps, you can become better prepared to face a range of emergencies and minimize the impact on yourself and your family.

  • Discuss how to prepare and respond to emergencies that are most likely to happen where you live and work. Identify responsibilities for each member of your household.

  • Identify two places for your family to meet. One right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, such as a fire. The other outside of your neighbourhood, in case you cannot return home.

  • Develop a plan so your family can stay in touch during an emergency. Include phone numbers for all family members, caregivers, and work, school, and daycare phone numbers, if applicable. Often long-distance phone calls are easier to make during an emergency. Identify an out-of-area contact that everyone in your family can call during an emergency to leave messages for the others.

  • Every family should have an emergency plan. Create your own plan online

Workplan Place

Learn about the emergency evacuation plans in place and what you will need to do. You may want to have some basic supplies at work, such as water and food that won’t spoil, in case you need to stay put for a while.

Check with your employer about workplace emergency plans, including:

  • Fire alarms

  • Emergency exits

  • Meeting points

  • Designated safety personnel or floor wardens.

Plan for Children, Seniors and Pets

  • 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 can’t pick them up.

  • Make sure the school or daycare has updated contact information for parents, caregivers and designated persons.


Discuss your plan with family and friends and teach others about any special needs you may have. Think of what you will need if you are away from the home for 3 days or more. Prepare a kit to take with you that includes contact numbers, medications and special needs supplies.

Arrange for someone to check on you during an emergency.  If you have a pet or service animal ensure you have supplies for them too.


In case of an evacuation, remember that pets may not be allowed in some hotels or evacuation centres. In case of an evacuation, prepare to take your pets with you to the home of a relative or friend, or take steps to identify pet-friendly hotels or pet boarding facilities in your area and further away from home. Service animals will be allowed in evacuation centres.

3. Get an Emergency Kit

Prepare now. Don’t wait for an emergency to happen. Make your plan and create your kit to prepare yourself and your loved ones. Remember to check it regularly for expiration dates. In an emergency you will need some basic supplies. You may need to get by without power or tap water. Be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours. Keep your kit in a backpack or suitcase with wheels in an easy-to-reach, accessible location such as a front hall closet. Ensure that everyone in the household knows where the emergency kit is.

Basic Kit Items

In an emergency you will need some basic supplies. What do you require to ensure special needs are met?

Create a "go bag" in case you have to evacuate your home

Consider the following items:

  • Battery powered radio and extra batteries

  • Flashlight with extra batteries

  • Lightweight blankets

  • Emergency information, including insurance policies

  • A list of medications and correct dosage, and doctor’s names and numbers

  • Personal items such as toothbrushes, soap, extra eyeglasses, etc.

  • Cell phone and charger

  • First aid kit

  • Change of clothing

  • Non-perishable snacks

  • Books, cards or magazines to pass the time 

  • Cash

  • Extra keys for your car and house

  • Keep photocopies of important family records and documents in a waterproof, portable container

  • If applicable, infant supplies

Put aside a 3-day supply of food for your household


  • Balance - A balanced diet includes a variety of foods from each of the basic food groups. Include high energy foods (such as nuts and protein bars) and comfort foods (such as graham crackers or chocolate).

  • Usability - Choose items that don’t need to be cooled, heated, or need a lot of water. Examples include canned or dried meat, dry cereal, and canned vegetables. Make sure you have a manual can opener if you plan to use canned goods.

  • Shelf Life - Look at the expiration date listed on the food item. Use and replace foods before the expiration date.

Store a 72-hour supply of water
  • Have at least 2 litres per person per day. Include small bottles that can be carried easily in case of an evacuation order. Change your stored water supply every six months to ensure it stays fresh.

Additional Items to Add to Your Kit

Recommended additional items include:

  • Two additional litres of water per person per day for cooking and cleaning
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each household member
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Utensils
  • Garbage bags
  • Toilet paper
  • Playing cards, games
  • A whistle in case you need to attract attention
  • Duct tape to tape up windows, doors and air vents

For Individuals with Disabilities or Special Needs

Talk with family to identify unique needs

What things could your household members not do without? Consider:

  • Infants and young children (Baby food, diapers, wipes, blanket or toy)
  • Prescription medication (keep a three day supply with you)
  • Health-related supplies (For example, diabetics need insulin syringes, alcohol wipes, and glucometer supplies)
  • Assistive devices (glasses, canes, etc.)
Consider those with disabilities 
  • Create a personal support network to assist during an emergency

  • If you have a service animal ensure you create a pet emergency kit for them

  • If you use a mobility device, include a tire patch kit, can of seal-in-air product, supply of inner tubes, pair of heavy gloves and a spare deep-cycle battery for motorized wheelchair or scooter

  • If you have a visual impairment, include an extra cane, talking or Braille clock and any reading devices/assistive technology to access information

  • If you have a hearing impairment include extra writing pads and pencils for communication, pre-printed key phrases you would use during an emergency, and extra batteries for assistive devices 

Car Emergency Kit

You should also consider keeping an emergency kit in your car. Items should include:

  • Snow brush, ice scraper and shovel
  • Booster cables
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Water and emergency food supply
  • Blanket
  • Spare warm clothing
  • Hat, mitts, scarf, and boots
  • Windshield wiper fluid and gas-line antifreeze
  • Sand, salt, cat litter or traction mats for ice
  • Emergency flares
  • Emergency contact numbers (including roadside assistance)
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Whistle
  • Spare fuel container (kept out of passenger area of the vehicle)
  • Road maps
  • Car charger or power bank for cellphone

 Pet Emergency Kit

You should also consider your pets as they can require different items than your emergency kit. Items should include:

  • Food and bowls
  • Can opener
  • Water
  • Blanket
  • Toys
  • Current pet photos
  • Litter pans, bags and scoop
  • Medications and medical records
  • Leashes, harness or carrier
  • Information on feeding schedules and behaviour
  • List of boarding facilities and pet-friendly hotels

During an Emergency

In an emergency, first responders will be working to ensure the safety of residents and to reduce the damage caused by the event. Emergency responders will work closely with utilities, businesses, provincial ministries and community partners to mount a coordinated response to the emergency.

When an emergency occurs, emergency responders will focus their initial efforts on helping people who need immediate assistance. If your neighbourhood is not in immediate danger, it may take time for responders to clear roads and restore utilities in your area.

When to call 9-1-1

You should call for emergency help when:

  • You require the immediate response of police, fire and/or an ambulance
  • You have a life-threatening situation
  • You need to report a fire or other dangerous situation
  • A crime is in progress


For your protection, it may become necessary to evacuate an area impacted by an emergency. If you are asked to evacuate take:

  • Emergency kit
  • Emergency plan
  • Wallet and personal identification for each family member
  • A cellphone, spare battery and charger
  • Pets
  • Essential medications and prescriptions
  • Leave immediately and follow travel routes identified by authorities
  • Lock your home, shut off water and electricity if instructed to do so by authorities

On the Road

If you are driving in emergency conditions:

  • Keep the radio on to hear important information and have a cellular phone with you.
  • Follow the routes specified by officials.
  • Don’t take short cuts; they could lead you to a blocked or dangerous area.
  • Watch for fallen power lines, debris, damaged bridges or roads and dangling wires.
  • If your car gets stuck, remain calm and stay in your car. Also:
  • Keep fresh air in your car by opening the window slightly on the sheltered side, away from the wind.
  • You can run the car engine about 10 minutes every half-hour if the exhaust system is working well.
  • Beware of exhaust fumes and check the exhaust pipe periodically to make sure it is not blocked with snow. Remember, you cannot smell potentially fatal carbon monoxide fumes.

In a flooding emergency:

  • Travel very carefully, and only if absolutely necessary, through flooded areas.
  • If you must walk or drive in a flooded area, make sure you are on firm ground.
  • Roads may be washed away or covered with water.
  • If you come across a barricade or a flooded road, take a different route.
  • If you are caught in fast rising waters and your car stalls, leave it and save yourself and your passengers

What you should do during an emergency

When an emergency occurs you should:

  • Follow your emergency plan
  • Get your emergency kit
  • Make sure you are safe before assisting others
  • Listen to the radio or television for information from authorities and follow their instructions
  • Stay put until all is safe or you are ordered to evacuate
If you are indoors:
  • ensure necessary personal items (medications, and important documents) are secured and easily accessible in case of evacuation
  • disconnect electrical appliances — don’t touch electrical equipment if wet or standing in water
  • don’t eat food that’s come in contact with flood waters
  • ensure your cellphone is charged (safely) – it may be your only means of communication during an evacuation
If you are outdoors:
  • if your property is impacted by flooding:don’t drive through, stand or walk in any moving water – you may fall
    • and your electricity is on, leave the area immediately
    • follow your emergency plan and move to a safe place on higher ground
    • avoid travelling on roads that are near water, bridges, ravines, embankments, low laying areas and any bodies of water
  • if you must walk, look for where the water is not moving and use a stick to check the ground in front of you
  • account for all of your family members, keeping children and pets away from floodwaters
 Severe Winter Weather
Heavy snowfall and ice can make the roads treacherous and interrupt the power supply.
  • You can check local weather and forecasts online.
  • Interactive maps, road conditions and driving information is available through Traveller Information Services.
  • Check with your school board for information on cancelled classes and buses.
  • Check with us for information on snow removal services and special rules in place during a snow emergency.
  • Avoid unnecessary travel.
  • Wear layers of lightweight clothing, mittens and a hat (preferably one that covers your ears).
  • Wear waterproof, insulated boots to keep your feet warm and dry and to keep from slipping on ice and snow.
  • Regularly check for frostbite — numbness or white areas on your face and body (ears, nose, cheeks, hands and feet in particular).
  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow by taking frequent breaks.
  • Bring pets inside and move livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
Human Health Emergencies and Epidemics
Pandemic occurs when an infectious disease spreads throughout the global population.Pandemics may arise from a new strain of influenza. Since the virus is new, the human population is likely to have little to no immunity against it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for about 15 seconds, including:
    • before and after eating
    • after you have been in a public place
    • after using the washroom
    • after coughing and sneezing
    • after touching surfaces that other people also touch.
  • Stay healthy by eating well, drinking lots of water, getting regular exercise and plenty of rest.
  • Get your annual flu shot.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
  • If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
Explosions, Fire, Forest Fire

While forest fires can be dangerous to people and property, being prepared in advance and knowing what actions to take can better protect you.By law, you cannot have an outdoor fire in a Restricted Fire Zone. This includes all campfires and burning grass and debris. There may be exceptions to the ban on outdoor fires in a Restricted Fire Zone if strict criteria are met. Refer to the Outdoor Fire Restrictions for more information.Champlain Fire Department may also have a fire ban or restrictions in addition to the provincial Ministry of Natural Resources Restricted Fire Zone. Please check for any further restrictions on open air burning in your area.If you are instructed by emergency officials to evacuate, do so immediately.

If you are indoors during a wildfire:

  • move away from outside walls

  • close doors but leave them unlocked

  • close windows, vents and blinds

  • remove lightweight curtains

  • open the fireplace damper and close fireplace screens

  • turn a light on in each room to make your home easier to see in heavy smoke

  • Turn off air conditioners.

  • Have a flashlight, extra batteries and a battery-powered radio close at hand in case the power goes out.

  • Keep all family members and pets together.

If you are outdoors during a wildfire:

  • Don’t try to outrun the fire — find a pond or river to crouch in.

  • If you’re not near water, go to a lower level clearing.

  • If you’re near a road, lie face down along the road cut or in the ditch. Cover yourself with soil or anything else that will shield you from the fire’s heat.

  • Protect your lungs by breathing air closest to the ground through a moist cloth to avoid inhaling smoke.

If you are told to leave your home:

  • Choose a route away from fire hazards – and listen to radio or TV.

  • Watch for changes in speed and direction of fire and smoke.

  • Wear long sleeve/pantleg clothing and closed-toe footwear that can protect you against flying sparks and ashes.

  • Take your pets with you.

  • If there is time before you leave:Tell someone when you leave and where you are going.

    • Pack as you would for a week’s vacation, including clothes, cash, medications, etc.
    • Move flammable materials away from your home.
    • Turn on sprinklers to wet the lawn.
    • Turn off the gas line to your home.

If you are a farmer:


Drought is slow to occur and caused by a combination of factors such as lack of rain, high temperatures and increased demand for water.Factors that affect drought conditions include:

  • lack of rain

  • warmer temperatures

  • increased evaporation

  • increased human water use

Droughts can lead to:

  • lower water levels in lakes, streams and rivers

  • reduced soil moisture and groundwater levels

  • declines in drinking water supply

  • loss of commercial, industrial and agricultural production

  • declines in water quality and reduced hydroelectric production

  • declines in tourism, recreation and shipping

  • loss of fish and wildlife habitat

If you are a homeowner or renter:

  • repair all leaks in taps and toilets

  • install low consumption toilets, dishwashers, shower heads, etc.

  • follow municipal water use restrictions (for example: lawn watering, car washing)

  • choose drought-resistant trees and plants

  • wash only full loads of laundry or dishes

If you are a farmer:

  • check your irrigation systems regularly for leaks

  • irrigate in the evening or later in the day when temperatures are lower and there is less evaporation loss

  • avoid irrigating during windy conditions

  • use rain gauges to measure how much water your crops are getting

  • ensure the irrigation system doesn’t water faster than the ground can absorb it

If you work in the agricultural or manufacturing industries:

  • set up a water conservation program

  • survey plant operations

  • determine ways to increase efficiency

Hail and Lightning Storms

Lightning kills about nine Canadians each year and seriously injures more than 100 people.

  • be aware of weather conditions and warnings

  • seek shelter immediately if a warning has been issued or you believe one could occur

If you are indoors:

  • Stay away from windows, skylights and glass doors — strong winds and large hailstones can shatter them.

  • Avoid running water in your house — lightning can enter through pipes and plumbing.

  • Don't take showers or baths during a thunderstorm.

  • Remain indoors during a thunderstorm and stay inside for at least 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder.

  • Be prepared to seek shelter in a basement or interior room on the lowest level if conditions worsen.

If you are outdoors:

  • If you hear thunder, then lightning is close enough to be dangerous — take shelter in an enclosed building or metal-topped vehicle.

  • Avoid water, high ground, isolated trees, power lines and picnic shelters — small, open structures don't protect you from lightning.

  • If there’s no shelter, go to a low-lying area away from tall, isolated objects — crouch down and put your feet together — do not lie down.

Hurricanes – Windstorms - Tornadoes

A tornado (or twister) is a powerful rotating column of wind that can hurt people and damage property. Very large thunderstorms can create many tornadoes. Tornadoes can appear after a heavy rain or hail in a sky that is green, yellow or black.

If you're indoors:

  • The safest place to be is an underground shelter, basement or safe room.

  • If you don't have a basement, go to the centre of an interior room on the lowest level away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls - put as many walls as possible between you and the outside.
  • Get under a sturdy piece of furniture — use your arms to protect your head and neck.
  • Don't open windows.

If you're outdoors:

  • don't wait until you see the tornado to get inside
  • if you can't get inside, lie flat in a ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands
  • don't go under an overpass or bridge - you're safer in a low, flat area

If you're in a mobile home:

  • Go to the nearest sturdy building or shelter immediately. Mobile homes do not offer much protection from tornadoes.

After an Emergency 

Do not re-enter your home unless authorities advise you it is safe to do so. Leave your home if you suspect or smell a natural gas leak when you arrive. From another location, call 911 and ask for the fire department. The fire department will notify the gas company.

Re-entering your home

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Check for blown fuses and look for short-circuits in your home wiring and equipment – if you suspect a problem, call your utility company.
  • Report any emergency situation to the police or fire department.
  • Notify your insurance agent or broker if your property is damaged.

Children and emergencies

Children may experience fear and anxiety after an emergency. Parents can help by:

  • Encouraging children to express themselves through play or drawing.
  • Talking about what happened, and what’s being done.
  • Comforting young children with physical care, holding and hugging.
  • Keeping the family together as much as possible.
  • Giving children information they can understand.

Coping with a disaster

During, or following a traumatic event, it is not unusual to have physical and emotional reactions. To help you cope:

  • Recognize that the way you react to the event is not unusual.
  • Try not to make big life changes.
  • Talk to family members and friends.
  • Listen to one another and help each other with daily tasks.
  • Try to achieve a balance between rest and activity.
  • Seek counseling to help cope with the emotional trauma associated with disasters.


You should check your insurance policy before an emergency to find out if you have enough coverage and exactly what types of damage will be covered.

For insurance purposes make sure you:

  • Have an accurate description of your home.
  • An inventory of your belongings.
  • Take photographs, record serial numbers, and keep copies of receipts to show the value of items.

If an emergency damages your home or possessions take immediate steps to protect your property from more damage and contact your insurance company as soon as possible.

For free information on car and home insurance, call the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s consumer information line at 1-800-387-2880 or visit the Insurance Bureau of Canada website. 

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