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Build a Kit

A disaster could leave you without power, water, heat and help.

Government and Emergency Services must prioritize the most critical needs, so that’s when your emergency kit will really make the difference for you and your household. At minimum, experts advise packing everything you’ll need to survive for at least three days. Ensure you’re prepared with an emergency kit in an accessible location in your home, car, or workplace.

Emergency kit

Step 1: Build or buy a kit

Either put your own kit together from scratch (use the Emergency Management BC (EMBC) list for what to put in it), or buy a ready-made kit to customize.

Be sure to choose a 72-hour kit with enough supplies for everyone in your household and consider how easy it is to carry with you if you need to evacuate. You might divide supplies into several packs so everyone can help shoulder the load.

Beyond the items in a standard emergency kit, add items from Prepared BC's pandemic preparedness list, and take additional measures, which include:

  • Refilling your prescriptions early on to avoid having to visit a busy pharmacy or should social distancing and staying home be set in place.
  • Gradually build your food storage with “non-perishable” food items such as dried pasta and sauce, prepared canned soups and canned vegetables or beans. Also include household and personal essentials, such as toilet paper, feminine products and pet food.
  • Health Canada also recommends having extra stores of bleach and store-bought cleaners and disinfectants for your home, along with alcohol-based hand sanitizer, disposable gloves and cloths.


For a limited time, BCAA Members save 25% PLUS an additional 20% on select emergency kits for home and vehicle use at our Rewards Partner, F.A.S.T. (First Aid & Survival Technologies Limited). Learn more.

Step 2: Customize it

Standard emergency kits come with survival basics but think beyond that and add some personal touches and comfort items. What’s important to you? What small items could make your life easier and lift your spirits during challenging times?

Extras to consider:

  • Medications/prescriptions
  • Cash – small notes
  • Equipment for any family members with disabilities
  • Extra clothes and shoes
  • Rain/snow gear
  • Baby supplies like diapers and wipes
  • Comfort items for children like stuffies or blankets
  • Pet food (learn more about how to prepare for your pets from EMBC)
  • Bar of soap and some toothbrushes
  • Candy or other treats with a long shelf life
  • A pack of cards or other activities
  • It’s tempting to add all the things you enjoy at home, but keep in mind that you may need to carry these kits, so keep the weight manageable.

Step 3: Keep it accessible

Store your kits somewhere easy to reach. Have one in your home (near an exit is a good location), and one in your car. You could also keep one at work.

Ensure everyone in your household knows where the kits are, and which ones they’re responsible for.

Step 4: Update it annually

Emergency supplies don’t last forever. Every year make sure to check expiry dates and refresh water, food items and batteries.

Health Canada does not recommend stockpiling these items all at once. Gradually build up your storage of non-perishable food, cleaners and other household essentials by adding a few extra items to your grocery cart each time you shop. This will help ensure expiry dates for items are staggered and avoids adding pressure on the supply chain in your community.

Fast Facts

Did you know that in the event of an earthquake or disaster, you’ll need to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours before emergency responders might arrive? Ensure you’re prepared with an emergency kit in an accessible location in your home, car, or workplace.