Are you prepared for an unexpected emergency?



​​Wildfires, earthquakes and floods are all natural disasters that can happen each year in British Columbia, creating dangers and hazards for people caught in their path. During a disaster, access to drinking water, roads and highways, home and cell phones, stores and gas stations may be disrupted or unavailable.

During Emergency Preparedness Week (May 5-11, 2024) it's important to make an emergency plan, build a grab-and-go kit, and stay informed (you can find links at the bottom of this story).

When building a grab-and-go kit, you don't have to buy everything at once. Build your kit up over time by purchasing one new item each time you go to the store.

It's recommended that you create a phone list of emergency contact numbers for everyone who lives in your household. You should also have one contact who lives outside of BC. That way you can call your out-of-area contact if you're separated from the people you live with.

Things to consider before an emergency

Do you have a public meeting place, such as a library, recreation centre or somewhere the members of your household can easily find?

Have you identified responsible people who can pick up your children from their school or daycare if you cannot get to them?

Do you have enough prescription medication and traditional medicine to last you 72 hours?

Do you have someone you can call for support during an emergency?

Do you know the difference between an evacuation alert and evacuation order?

Are your pets included in your emergency plan and do you have water and food for them in your grab-and-go kit?

Do you know how to turn off utilities like gas and water before leaving?

Who is most at risk?

It's important to monitor the situation and update family members, Elders and people in community and to consider creating a check-in system for people who are at higher risk. These people could include:

  • Elders
  • People who live alone
  • People with mental illness (e.g., schizophrenia, depression, anxiety)
  • People with preexisting health conditions (e.g., diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease)
  • People with substance use disorders
  • People with disabilities (e.g., hearing or sight impairment) or limited mobility (e.g., in a wheelchair or uses a walker)
  • People who are marginally housed
  • People who are pregnant
  • Infants and young children

Develop a “buddy system" or connect to a neighbour if you or another person has one of these risk factors. It's important to ensure everyone is accounted for in an emergency plan.

Be Informed

Visit PreparedBC for knowing about hazards, building kits, making plans, guides and resources, evacuation and recovery, and education programs and toolkits.

Visit DriveBC for current road conditions across the province.

Visit EmergencyInfoBC to find current emergencies in BC.

Your local band office or government may also have its own emergency plan and will advise residents on how to react in an emergency.

Programs and resources

First Nations Health Benefits and Services

First Nations Virtual Doctor of the Day
Phone (toll-free, 7 days a week, 8:30 a.m. to 4:340 p.m.): 1-855-344-3800

Mental Health Supports

Tsow-Tun-Le-Lum cultural support and counselling: 1-888-403-3123

KUU-US Crisis Line Society
Adults and Elders: 250-723-4050
Children and Youth: 250-723-2040
Toll-free: 1-800-588-8717

FNHA Handouts

Recognizing and Addressing Trauma and Anxiety During Disasters

Recognizing and Resolving Trauma in Children During Disasters

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