By Nicole Robicheau

As a new Red Cross staff member working with Public Affairs in Ottawa, I’ve recently been going through some of the materials we have on disaster preparedness in Canada.  I’m trained as an ERU delegate, so I’ve learned the skills necessary to go into a disaster, like the Haiti Earthquake in 2010, and set up a hospital that can be fully operational within 12 hours. But like many Canadians, I never really thought that something like the Haiti earthquake could happen here.

But I’m wrong.

The Canadian Red Cross responds to disasters in Canada every four hours, this could be anything from a fire, to a flood, to a tornado, or an avalanche. Inspired by the Red Cross, on my way home from work just recently, I grabbed eight litres of water from the grocery store, cleared out one of the cupboards in my kitchen, and started setting up my own emergency preparedness area.

So far I’ve got canned goods (enough to keep me going for 72 hours), a flashlight, a radio, copies of my ID and some batteries. Look here for additional items the Red Cross recommends you have on hand in your emergency kit. I hope I will never have to use these things, but it’s a fairly easy and cheap way to potentially save my life, or the lives of my loved ones. I feel better now knowing it’s there.

Set up your home emergency kit today!