How Residents Can Prepare

All BC communities are at risk of an emergency or disaster that will impact every resident. While these events often can’t be avoided, you can take steps in advance to be prepared.

Create an Emergency Plan

Before a disaster strikes, we’ve outlined some important steps you can in advance of an emergency to prepare yourself, your home, and your family. 

Make a Household Emergency Plan

Creating an emergency plan will ensure that you and your family know what to do, who to call, and how to get important information during an emergency. These fill-in-the-blank guides will walk you through an emergency plan for your household.

Make an Emergency Plan - Take 20 minutes to build your plan online.

Read the Household Emergency Plan (PDF) and Household Preparedness Guide (PDF) from Prepared BC.

Prepare your Neighbourhood

The most immediate help following an emergency will come from those directly around you—your neighbours. Connect with them today and work together to build a plan for your neighbourhood.

Read the In It Together: Neighbourhood Preparedness Guide (PDF) from Prepared BC.

Build an Emergency Kit

Be equipped to support yourself and your family for a minimum of 72 hours after an emergency. Remember, following a devastating event, it could take days, or even weeks before services are fully restored, or you’re able to safely return to your home. You can purchase ready-made kits from a number of local and online suppliers, or you can begin to assemble one yourself from extra items you already have at home. The lists below will help you identify your needs.

Learn how to make an emergency kit and grab-and-go bag from Prepared BC.

To get a head start, purchase ready-to-go emergency kits and first-aid kits:

Emergency Preparedness for People with a Disability

While creating your emergency plan, consider additional needs for members of your household living with a physical, medical, sensory or cognitive disability. Important information might be needed for their caregivers to manage medications, medical equipment and more. 

Read Resources for People with Disabilities (PDF) from Prepared BC.

Pets in an Emergency

In the event of a disaster or evacuation, your pet may be displaced. Having a plan in place beforehand can greatly reduce the stress of worrying about your pets’ needs during an emergency. 

BCSPCA Emergency Response Services

In the event of an emergency, the BC SPCA supports pet guardians and keeps animals safe. For information on evacuee services and emergency pet boarding, the BC SPCA Animal Helpline 1-855-622-7722 is the first point of contact for anyone inquiring about emergency animal services. 

Terms to Know in an Emergency

Shelter in Place

A shelter in place order means you must stay inside to protect yourself during an emergency. 

  • Go indoors immediately and stay there
  • Close all windows and doors
  • Turn off the furnace, air conditioners and exhaust systems
  • Listen to the radio or TV for more information

Evacuation Stages

  • Evacuation Order:
    You are at risk. Leave the area immediately. Local police or RCMP enforce evacuation orders.
  • Evacuation Alert:
    Be ready to leave on short notice. If you leave before or during this alert, it's called a voluntary evacuation.
  • Evacuation Rescind:
    All is currently safe and you can return home. Stay tuned for other possible evacuation alerts or orders.


Prepared BC offers downloadable guides and fill-in-the-blank plans to help you prepare for emergencies. For hazard-specific guides in French, Chinese and Punjabi visit Prepared BC emergency guides and resources.