Help Students Learn About and Prepare for Disasters

Expect the Unexpected

Canada experiences many different emergencies like power outages, floods, forest fires, tornadoes and public health crises. Intended for educators and parents, the free Expect the Unexpected program is designed to help youth and their family deal with the impact of natural disasters and adopt disaster preparedness behaviours. The Canadian Red Cross is grateful to the American Red Cross for permitting the adaptation of their Masters of Disasters™ program in order to create the Expect the Unexpected program.

Expect the Unexpected fits with Social Studies, Science and Technology, Health and Physical Education curriculums. The program provides a variety of teaching and communications aids for teachers or educators, students and their parents.

There are three modules, each developed for a specific age group. Each teaches young people how to act safely in case of unexpected events and helps them deal with emergencies. There is an additional module for parents.

  •  It can happen, be ready is for 7-8 year old students.
  •  Facing the unexpected, be prepared is for 9-11 year old students.
  •  Be ready, be safe is for 12-13 year old students.
  • Let’s plan for the unexpected is for parents and caregivers.

 Download the booklets and additional teaching aids.

Independent Evaluations

An independent impact analysis (PDF, 250kb) of the program implemented by the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction indicates that:

  • Teachers gave the program an A or B score.
  • 89% of the children who participated in the program enjoyed it.
  • 16% of the students who participated shared information with their parents. Of those households, 51% indicated that the information provided by their children prompted them to take emergency preparedness measures.
  • 73% of the households that participated in the study indicated they would like to be more active in prevention / preparedness.

Expect the Unexpected is recommended by:


                      Curriculum Services Canada


      Canadian Psychological Association

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