Community Safety Zone

Welcome to November’s Community Safety Zone!

The recent tornadoes that caused devastation in the western part of Ottawa and Gatineau caused many people to reflect on how prepared they and their family are in the event of an emergency or natural disaster.  This month’s column provides some very basic tips.

1. Have a Plan

Think about different scenarios that your family may encounter and work out a plan together.  Make sure everyone in your home knows how to safely exit the home. What would be the primary route to evacuate your home ?  What is the secondary route ? Where would you head first? Who would be responsible for the dog or for grabbing the emergency kit ?  How would you connect to one another if not all together at the time of the event. i.e. Having a third party contact outside the city or affected area may be helpful in the event cell coverage is sporadic .  That third party could relay information to your other family members who also contact them as part of your plan.

In case you are asked to evacuate your home, or even your area, select two safe locations you could go to. One should be nearby, such as an arena or community hall. The other one should be farther away, outside your neighbourhood, in case the emergency affects a large area.

• Safe meeting place 1 (near home):
• Safe meeting place 2 (outside my neighbourhood):

You should also plan how you would travel to a safe location if evacuation was advised. Have an emergency survival kit ready to take with you. And if you have pets, think of someone who can take your pet(s) if you have to leave your home for a lengthy period of time. Often, only service animals are allowed at receptions centres.

• My evacuation route:
• Location of my emergency survival kit:
• Location and contact information for pet assistance:

2. Prepare an Emergency Survival Kit 


  • Food (non-perishable and easy-to-prepare items, enough for 3 days) and a manual can opener
  • Bottled water (4 litres per person for each day)
  • Medication(s)
  • Flashlight
  • Radio (crank or battery-run)
  • Extra batteries
  • First-aid kit
  • Candles and matches/lighter
  • Hand sanitizer or moist towelettes
  • Important papers (identification, contact lists, copies of prescriptions, etc.)
  • Extra car keys and cash
  • Whistle (to attract attention, if needed)
  • Zip-lock bag (to keep things dry)
  • Garbage bags

Special Considerations

  • Items for babies and small children—diapers, formula, bottles, baby food, comfort items
  • Prescription medication
  • Medical supplies and equipment
  • Pet food and supplies
  • Any other items specific to your family’s needs

For more information visit

We appreciate hearing your comments, receiving your concerns and taking suggestions for future Community Safety Zone topics.

Please feel free to email us at

Share the Safety zone :