Would you be prepared if disaster struck?

There's a saying in Calgary that if you don't like the weather just wait five minutes. From gorgeous blue skies to hail or snow in a matter of hours, Calgary’s weather can change on a dime. If a storm blew in and you were out of power or water, would you be prepared?

“The first 72 hours after an emergency hits can be very hectic and first responders may be busy assisting those in immediate danger,” said Deputy Chief Sue Henry with Calgary Emergency Management Agency.

Emergencies and disasters evolve quickly and what we do beforehand can reduce some of the stress we feel if a situation arises. Creating an emergency kit is one thing we do have control over and can help bring a peace of mind.

“When people were evacuated during the Fort McMurray fires, we heard all kinds of stories about the funny items people brought with them,” Henry recalled. “It’s a high stress situation and someone might grab high heels instead of their running shoes, take a bag of chips instead of their passport or a bring pair of snow pants instead of actual pants. One man said his wife took the bear head off of their living room wall, but didn’t pack anything to wear.”

If you’re interested in becoming more prepared, a 72-hour kit is a great way to start. To begin, you will need a waterproof container to store the supplies in. If it has wheels it will be easier to move around. Items like waterproof luggage work well for this because they are mobile and not easily damaged.

Keep in mind what it would take to sustain all the members of your family for three days. For example, if you have young children you will want to have diapers, wipes and extra clothes. At minimum, you’ll want to include:

  • Water (4 litres per person, per day)
  • Food (non-perishable, and a can opener if needed)
  • Medication, prescription glasses or other special needs items
  • First aid kit
  • Flash light
  • Radio
  • Powerbank and phone charger
  • Important documents
  • Cash
  • Warm clothes and blankets
  • Toiletries
  • Whistle
  • Supplies for babies and pets
  • Entertainment (books, cards, low power options)

Get the checklist

Check on your kit every six months or when you change your clocks, to replace used items and check expiry dates.

“These kits do not need to be built in one day,” said Henry. “Think about adding one item to your grocery list every week and build it over time.”

If you’re looking for more information about how to prepare your family and your home for an emergency, consider taking the Ready Calgary course at It’s designed to educate, engage and empower Calgarians to take action in regard to emergency preparedness in order to be resilient during times of stress caused by emergencies and disasters.