Emergency kit checklists

Emergencies and disasters can happen at any time. Utilities can be out, roads could be closed, and crucial supplies may be unavailable. While local, provincial, and federal officials prepare for emergencies, individuals can plan to be prepared at home and at work. Everyone should be prepared to take care of themselves and their families for at least three days in the event of an emergency or disaster.

Basic emergency kit checklist

  • Emergency plan—include a copy of it and ensure it contains local and out-of-area contact information
  • Food that won’t spoil—non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items; enough to last three days
  • Manual can opener
  • Water—bottled or bagged water (4 litres per person for each day) and backup water
  • Water purification tablets
  • First aid kit
  • Portable light source such as a flashlight, headlamp, or glow stick
  • Radio (hand-crank or battery-powered)
  • Extra batteries
  • Medication(s) and medical supplies (if applicable)
  • Extra pair of glasses or contact lenses and solution (if applicable)
  • Backup chargers and power banks for cell phones or mobile devices
  • Candles and matches or a lighter
  • Soap, liquid detergent, unscented household chlorine bleach
  • Toilet paper and other personal items such as soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc.
  • Disposable plates, cups, knives, forks and spoons
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) such as medical masks and gloves
  • Cash, in small bills
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Copies of important documents such as passports, birth certificates, emergency plan, identification, contact lists, copies of prescriptions, etc.
  • Extra car and house keys
  • Whistle (to attract attention, if needed)
  • Zip-lock bags (to keep things dry)
  • Garbage bags and duct tape for personal sanitation
  • Change of clothes and footwear for each household member
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each household member
  • Basic tools – hammer, pliers, wrench, screwdrivers, fasteners and work gloves

Additional considerations

The following list includes additional items you may require for your household’s unique needs:

  • Items for babies and small children such as diapers, formula, bottles, baby food, etc.
  • Comfort and sentimental items such as photos of loved ones, irreplaceable items, etc.
  • Pet supplies
  • Any other items specific to your household’s needs


  • Pack the contents of your kit in an easy-to-carry bag (or bags) or a case on wheels.
  • Store your kit in a place that is easy to reach and ensure that everyone in your household knows where it is.
  • Group like items and package them in clear plastic bags to help organize and protect them from other items that may melt, break or otherwise become spoiled.
  • 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, as well as your power bank.

Emergency car kit

Every driver should carry a survival kit in their vehicle. Here are some important items to consider:

  • Food that won’t spoil, such as energy bars
  • Water in plastic bottles so they will not break if frozen (replace every six months)
  • Blanket
  • Extra clothing and shoes
  • First aid kit
  • Small shovel, scraper, and snow brush
  • Candle in a deep can and matches
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank flashlight
  • Whistle, in case you need to attract attention
  • Road maps
  • Copy of your emergency plan and personal documents
  • Roadside assistance contact information (if applicable)
  • Cellular phone (911 can be called using a cell phone, even if the phone does not have an active SIM card or mobility plan)

The following items may also be useful to keep stored in your trunk:

  • Sand, salt or cat litter (non-clumping)
  • Vehicle fluids (windshield washer, gas-line antifreeze, motor oil, transmission oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid, anti-freeze)
  • Tool kit, including various screwdrivers, pliers, utility knife, ratchet socket set, a four-way wrench, vice-grip pliers, rolls of electrical and duct tape, seat belt cutter
  • Assortment of spare fuses
  • Tow rope
  • Jumper cables
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Warning light or road flares

Safety tip

Always keep your vehicle’s gas tank at least half full, especially in the winter. Remember to have your vehicle serviced regularly. Drive carefully.

Additional resources

For additional information on preparing for an emergency, emergency kits and tips check out the Ontario Government’s emergency preparedness website and the Government of Canada’s Get Prepared webpage.