Emergency preparedness

Emergency preparedness is everyone's responsibility. Make sure your home and business are prepared in the event of an emergency. All levels of government have an important role to play in emergency preparedness and response. But emergency preparedness starts with the individual.

Knowing the risks and developing practical plans can help reduce fear and aid in recovery from an emergency situation. Ensuring business continuity, protecting information and updating emergency plans are all crucial in assuring community preparedness. Every household should be prepared to take care of itself for at least the first 72 hours of an emergency.

View our Emergency Plan

Emergency preparedness for seniors and people with disabilities

If you are a Senior or a person with disabilities there are additional things to think about when preparing for an emergency.  Emergency Management Ontario has prepared some specific information geared to Seniors and People with Disabilities.  Check out the various information on the Emergency Management Ontario (EMO) website

Visit EMO's website

Guides are also available in French and over 20 other languages that you can share with people in your life who do not speak English so that you can help make sure they also understand about preparing for an emergency.

Emergency preparedness for pets

Please visit our Pet Winter + Emergency Care page for more information

Seasonal preparedness tips

Be Prepared for every Season

Preparing for an emergency starts with you and your family.  Check out the brochure from Emergency Management Ontario to help prepare for an emergency.

Various types of emergencies can happen throughout the year.  Follow these links from Emergency Management Ontario for tips on preparing for the following specific types of emergencies:

Dam Failures




Extreme Heat


Forest Fires

Landslides and Sinkholes

Oil and Gas

Nuclear Incident




Winter Storms

Preparing an emergency kit for your car

Slippery or snow-covered roads, reduced visibility and bitter cold: these are all conditions that can make driving difficult and even dangerous during cold weather months. Winter also brings an increased risk of getting stuck in your car, so dress warmly before heading out.

Follow these tips to learn about winter driving risks and prepare an emergency kit for your car.

Exercise extra caution when driving in these winter road conditions:

  • Blizzards: The most dangerous of winter storms, combining falling, blowing and drifting snow, winds of at least 40 km/h, visibility less than one kilometre and temperatures below -10°C. They can last from a few hours to several days.
  • Heavy snowfall: Refers to snowfalls of at least 10 centimetres in 12 hours, or at least 15 centimetres in 24 hours; accumulation may be lower in temperate climates.
  • Freezing rain or drizzle: This can lead to ice storms, with ice covering roads, trees, power lines, etc.
  • Cold snap: Refers to temperatures that fall rapidly over a very short period of time, causing very icy conditions.
  • Winds: They create the conditions associated with blizzards, and cause blowing and drifting snow, reducing visibility and causing wind chill.
  • Black ice: Refers to a thin layer of ice on the road that can be difficult to see or can make the road look black and shiny. The road freezes more quickly in shaded areas, on bridges and on overpasses when it is cold. These areas remain frozen long after the sun has risen.
  • Slush: Wet snow can make for slushy roads. Heavy slush can build up in the wheel wells of your vehicle and can affect your ability to steer. Large trucks and buses can blow slush and snow onto your windshield, leading to a sudden loss of visibility.

Follow these tips if you are stuck in the snow:

  • Try to stay calm and don't go out in the cold. Stay in your car: you will avoid getting lost and your car is a safe shelter.
  • Don't tire yourself out. Shovelling in the intense cold can be deadly.
  • Let in fresh air by opening a window on the side sheltered from the wind.
  • Keep the engine off as much as possible. Be aware of carbon monoxide poisoning and make sure the exhaust pipe is not obstructed by snow.
  • If possible, use a candle placed inside a deep can instead of the car heater to warm up.
  • Turn on warning lights or set up road flares to make your car visible.
  • Turn on the ceiling light; leaving your headlights or hazard lights on for too long will drain the battery.
  • Move your hands, feet and arms to maintain circulation. Stay awake.
  • Keep an eye out for other cars and emergency responders. Try to keep clothing dry since wet clothing can lead to a dangerous loss of body heat.

SOURCE: Public Safety Canada, in cooperation with Transport Canada.

Prepare an emergency kit

You should be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for at least the first 72 hours (3 days) of an Emergency. Start by preparing an emergency kit and an emergency plan for your family.

How to prepare an emergency kit

A kit can easily be prepared by collecting certain items you already have around your house into one bag or container that is in a location that is easy to grab in case you need to leave your home in a hurry. Many of the other items you can find inexpensively at a dollar store. Emergency kits make great gifts too so you can buy or find a special carry bag or plastic storage container and then head out to a dollar store or other store to find many of the items to fill the kit.

Remember your emergency survival kit should be unique to your household and what your household needs are. For example, do you have a baby, a person with disabilities or special medical needs, do you have pets? The Office of the Fire Marshall and Emergency Management Ontario (OFMEM) website contains useful tips and information on what to do to prepare for special situations such as persons with special needs or pets. Also think about special items that would be important to you or provide comfort to your family members. Items such as: a book; small toy; colouring book and crayons; a family photo or flash drive with family photos.

Your emergency survival kit should have everything you and your family would need to be safe and take care of yourselves for at least three days immediately following an emergency.

The following list is broken down into the essentials, items you may need to meet your family's unique needs, and items to have ready in case you have to leave your home.

What to put in your survival kit - essentials

  • Food (non-perishable and easy-to-prepare items, enough for 3 days) and a manual can opener
  • Bottled water (4 litres per person for each day)
  • Medication(s)
  • Flashlight
  • Radio (crank or battery-run)
  • Extra batteries
  • First-aid kit
  • Candles and matches/lighter
  • Hand sanitizer or moist towelettes
  • Important papers (identification, contact lists, copies of prescriptions, etc.)
  • Extra car keys and cash
  • Whistle (to attract attention, if needed)
  • Zip-lock bag (to keep things dry)
  • Garbage bags

What to put in your survival kit – special considerations

  • Items for babies and small children—diapers, formula, bottles, baby food, comfort items
  • Prescription medication
  • Medical supplies and equipment
  • Pet food and supplies
  • Any other items specific to your family's needs

What to put in your survival kit – extra supplies for evacuation

  • Clothes, shoes
  • Sleeping bags or blankets
  • Personal items (soap, toothpaste, shampoo, comb, other toiletries)
  • Playing cards, travel games, other activities for children
  • Flash drive of family photos

Prepare an emergency car kit

Always have winter safety and emergency equipment in your car. A basic car kit should contain the following:

  • Food that won't spoil, such as energy bars
  • Water—plastic bottles that won't break if the water freezes (replace them every six months)
  • Blanket
  • Extra clothing and shoes or boots
  • First aid kit with seatbelt cutter
  • Small shovel, scraper and snowbrush
  • Candle in a deep can and matches
  • Wind‑up flashlight
  • Whistle—in case you need to attract attention
  • Roadmaps
  • Copy of your emergency plan


Items to keep in your trunk:

  • Sand, salt or cat litter (non-clumping)
  • Antifreeze and windshield washer fluid
  • Tow rope
  • Jumper cables
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Warning light or road flares

Other tips

  • Pack the contents of your kit in an easy-to-carry bag(s) or a case on wheels.
  • Store your kit in a place that is easy to reach, and ensure that everyone in your family knows where it is.
  • Your kit does not have to be built overnight. Spread your shopping over a few weeks. Purchase a few items every time you go to the store.
  • Your water supply is meant to cover what you would drink as well as what you might need for food preparation, hygiene and dishwashing.
  • Check and refresh your kit twice a year—when the clocks shift to/from daylight savings time is a good time. Check all expiry dates and replace food and water with a fresh supply. Check batteries and replace as needed.
  • Keep your cell phone or mobile device fully charged.
  • Keep the gas tank in your vehicle full.

A weather radio is also a useful investment and there are many inexpensive types that do the job and can keep you aware when severe weather may occur or is about to happen.

You can download our helpful checklist from this website or contact the Township office for more information. You can also make use of the information on the Province of Ontario's website and the Government of Canada website.

Create an Emergency Plan

Do you know what do in a tornado, flood or winter storm? Do you have everything you need during a major emergency?

Emergency Management Ontario has an easy online tool that will help you create an Emergency Preparedness Action Plan for your family or household.  Your completed plan will:

  • List the specific steps you need to take to get prepared
  • Provide tips on hazards that might affect your community
  • Include information related to special needs you may have (for example, information for people with disabilities and pet owners)

Reach out to neighbours, family and friends who may be vulnerable or unable to support themselves during an emergency.  Get to know your neighbours who might need help in an emergency and make sure that you or someone on your street is partnered with them to make sure they are okay in an emergency.

You can't predict an emergency, but you can prepare for one. Take action today!


Floods are the most frequent natural hazard in Canada and the most dangerous in Ontario in terms of property damage, civil disruption and even death. Floods are typically caused by seasonal melting snow, ice jams, heavy spring rains and summer thunderstorms. Flash flooding is often caused by violent rain storms or breaking dams, and usually occurs with little or no advance warning. When you are building your family emergency plan review and discuss the safety tips related to flooding with your entire household to make sure everyone understands what to do.

Please go to Ottawa River Floodplain for more information on these zones.

Flooding information and resources 

A variety of resources exist through the Renfrew County & District Health Unit, the Province, Government of Canada and agencies such as the Canadian Red Cross on what to do before, after and during a flood. This includes what to do about your well and septic system, electrical safety and mental wellness.

The following are links to these other websites with information and tips related to flooding.


Municipal511 is a comprehensive map-based road information communications and management service for municipal public works departments.

It also serves as a common operating picture (COP) for emergency response teams and management, that gets used during emergencies because is it used every day. The web app works on mobile phones, tablets, desktops, and display walls – all without having to install and maintain software.

The Township, the County of Renfrew and many area municipalities use the tool to share information on road closures due to construction or as a result of emergency situations. Check it before you head out. During emergencies, the Township also uses Municipal 511 to post information such as sandbag depot locations or other location specific information.