In case of a major emergency

  • Follow your emergency plan
  • Get your emergency kit
  • Make sure you are safe before assisting others
  • Listen to the radio or television for information from local officials and follow their instructions
  • Stay put until all is safe or until you are ordered to evacuate


You may be instructed to “shelter-in-place” if chemical, biological or radiological contaminants are released into the environment. This means you must remain inside your home or office and protect yourself there. The following steps will help maximize your protection:

  • Close and lock all windows and exterior doors
  • Turn off all fans, heating and air-conditioning systems to avoid drawing in air from the outside
  • Close the fireplace damper
  • Get your emergency kit and make sure the radio is working
  • Go to an interior room that’s above ground level (if possible, one without windows). In the case of a chemical threat, an above-ground location is preferable because some chemicals are heavier than air and may seep into basements even if the windows are closed
  • Using duct or other wide tape, seal all cracks around the door and any vents into the room
  • Continue to monitor your radio or television until you are told all is safe or are advised to evacuate.

If you are ordered to evacuate, take:

  • Your emergency kit
  • Your emergency plan
  • Essential medications and copies of prescriptions
  • A cellular phone (if you have one)
  • Your pets (plan in advance for a pet-friendly location)
  • If time permits, leave a note telling others when you left and where you went (leave the note in your mailbox if you have one)
  • Follow the routes specified by the officials and don’t take shortcuts
  • Register upon arrival at your evacuation centre so you can be contacted and reunited with your family and loved ones

Protect your home:

  • If instructed to do so, shut off water and electricity
  • Leave natural gas service on, unless officials tell you to turn it off (if you turn off the gas, the gas company has to reconnect it. In a major emergency, it could take weeks for a professional to respond. You would be without gas for heating and cooking).
  • Lock your home
  • During a winter power failure drain water from plumbing