Learn what to include in your household supply kit to get your family safely through an emergency.

If you are not evacuated, having a well-stocked household emergency kit will be key to bringing you and your family through a major disaster. In case you are evacuated, it's important to also prepare a Grab and Go kit as well.

Considerations when planning your kit:

  • Think about each household member’s personal preferences, allergies and needs.
  • A plastic or metal container with a tight-fitting lid will protect contents from odours, moisture and rodents.
  • Store your kit in a cool, shaded place away from chemicals, and not directly on a concrete floor.
  • Keep your kit somewhere you can get to it easily, like a closet near an exit or in your camper or outside shed.
  • Consider storing supplies in individual packs within your big container so supplies are easier to move if needed.

Food Supplies

A three-day supply is the minimum amount of food for your kit. However, because a major disaster can disrupt your ability to purchase food, it is better to have a two-week supply in your everyday household provisions.

Choose foods that:

  • Don’t require refrigeration
  • Require little or no preparation or water
  • Are familiar to your family
  • Will not increase thirst
  • Keep the volume small, light and easy to carry, in case an evacuation is necessary.
  • Choose items such as:
    • Peanut butter
    • Canned fruits, vegetables and stews
    • Canned fish and meat, pasta, beans and beef jerky
    • High-nutrient food bars, nutritional drinks and dried nuts and fruit.

Seal all foods to prevent contamination by rodents, bugs, humidity, ground water and variations in temperature.


Water is the most important item to store, as reduced water intake can adversely affect your health and ability to survive. Plan for approximately four litres per person per day – two for drinking, and two for food preparation and hygiene. A family of four will need 48 litres of water for a three-day supply, so it is recommended that you purchase bottled water.

Storing Water

  • Store your water containers in cool, dark locations.
  • Avoid storing water in areas where toxins such as gasoline and pesticides are present, as the vapours will penetrate the plastic over time.
  • Don’t store plastic water containers directly on concrete, as concrete will leach chemicals into the water and degrade the container itself.

Sources of Water

If you don't have bottled water, there are other sources of water in your home like your hot water tank and water in existing plumbing. It is better to use the water supply in your emergency kit, or purify it before use following the instructions below.

  • Your hot water heater
    It is easier to drain water from the heater if a hot water faucet is turned on somewhere in the house. You must shut off the gas or electricity before emptying the heater, and turn it back on only after the water heater has been totally refilled.
  • Flush tank of toilet
    Purify this water first before using it. However, do not use this water for drinking if you use
    any commercial cleaning treatments in your tank.
  • Existing water in plumbing
    After shutting off the main water valve, open a faucet on the top floor and catch the water as it drains from an open faucet on the lowest level.

Do not use water from your jacuzzi, swimming pool or waterbed except for hygienic purposes. Chemicals in the water make it unsafe to drink.
Pipes that bring water into your home can easily be broken or cracked, which might allow the water to
become polluted.

Water Purification

If you aren't able to use bottled or other water that has already been purified, it's important to purify water to make sure it's safe to use and drink. Follow these steps to ensure your water is safe:

  • Wash containers with soapy water, then fill with a 10% bleach solution.
  • After five minutes, empty the container and let air dry. The same bleach solution can be used to sterilize all the containers you are using.
  • Strain any sediment or particles from the water you are purifying by pouring it through several layers of paper towels, cheesecloth or coffee filters.

Use one of the following purification methods:

  • Boil the water for seven to 10 minutes.
  • Water purification tablets can be purchased at drug stores. Follow the directions carefully.

First Aid Supplies

You can purchase pre-packaged first aid supplies or assemble your own kit with fresh supplies. Store in a small container with a handle, such as a cosmetic case or toolbox. Tape the list of contents inside the lid, and check the expiry dates regularly.

Your first aid kit should include medicine, medical equipment, bandages and other medical supplies. To see a full list of first aid supplies, download the First Aid Supplies Checklist and check your kit for each item.

Prescription Medication

Ask your pharmacist about storage requirements and time. If possible, purchase an extra amount (two-week supply) for your first aid kit and rotate the supply whenever you fill your prescription.

Other Emergency Supplies

There are several other items you should have access to during an emergency for your family's safety and comfort. These include:

  • Food-Related supplies, such as cooking equipment, a can opener, salt or spices and other items for preparing, storing and cleaning food.
  • Special items for infants or small children
  • Clothing
  • Alternate sources of lighting like flashlights, lanterns or candles
  • Hand-crank radio or charger

For a full list of all other recommended supplies, download the Personal Emergency Supplies List.