Guest Post by Kathryn Dunmore, Red Cross Blogger

This year, as I was preparing for spring with a little deep cleaning and organizing, I thought to prepare myself for times of emergency. I had recently read that many Canadians are not prepared should a disaster or emergency happen to them personally. I was one of those Canadians and so decided it was time to be ready.

In preparing for an emergency, the Canadian Red Cross has a lot of information on how to plan for times that take us by surprise at www.redcross.ca/ready. Every household should have an emergency preparedness kit to help you get through the first 72 hours after a disaster strikes. As every family has different needs, e.g. my sister has to plan for her infant son, it is important to personalize your kit to meet those needs. Some families need to plan for elderly family members, people with disabilities, medical concerns, pets, as well as young children.

I took a look at some of the kit items the Red Cross suggests I would need to survive 72 hours. With that in mind, I assembled non-perishable food items, water, battery-operated flashlight and trusty radio, an extra set of house keys, some cash, a first aid kit, personal hygiene products (those travel size soaps and toothpaste work for me), my important documents, garbage bags, my Swiss Army knife and some cat food for Jethro, all in an under-used gym bag and stored it in an easily accessible place.

Need help determining what you need in your kit? Red Cross has an app on Facebook that calculates your preparedness level and helps determine what you need in your kit. You may already have many of the items at home, like I did, so assemble them in a tote, bin or duffel bag so it’s easy to find, grab and go in times of emergency.

If you need to buy some items, during Emergency Preparedness Week and until May 15th, the Canadian Red Cross is offering a 10% discount on their Disaster Preparedness Kit, the FR170 weather radio, and road torq through its online store.

I'm glad I took the time to look around the house for these items as having them assembled in one place gives me peace of mind that I'm now better prepared in times of emergency! If you haven't already, make the time to look into what's in your kit.