Emergency Preparedness

It is important to be prepared for any type of emergency to reduce the risk, or lessen damage after a disaster.


Flooding is a result of the rising and overflowing of a body of water especially onto normally dry land.

What to do:

Prepare your property

  • Know where your property is located in relation to flood warning areas
  • Check your lot is properly graded and that roof and eaves are draining properly in heavy rain
  • Move valuables that may be subject to flooding to upper levels
  • Consider installing a sump pump and zero reverse flow valves in basement flood drains
  • Consider buying a portable generator and pump
  • Consult your respective utility companies for instructions on how to safely shut off and protect your furnaces and other household equipment and for the necessary steps to take before restarting

During a flood

  • Stay tuned to local media for warning and advisories
  • Follow the instructions of emergency response officials, such as police, fire and municipal staff
  • Remove valuable items from the basement and lower levels
  • If you have a generator and/or portable pump, test them and have fuel on hand
  • Make sure your sump pump is working
  • Follow the instructions from your utility supplier (gas, electrical, propane, etc.) to safely shut down and protect furnaces and other appliances
  • Prepare to evacuate if necessary. Collect necessary items such as cash, medication, important papers, identification and change of clothes
  • Ensure your pets are not left alone during a flood by taking them to a kennel or leaving them with family and friends
  • Do not attempt to drive on a road that has been closed due to flooding, obey the signs and take alternate routes.

After a flood

  • Do not return home until authorities advise it is safe
  • Report broken utility lines
  • Consult your insurer about steps to take if your property is flooded
  • Exercise caution when re-entering your home. If the main power switch was not turned off prior to flooding, do not re-enter your home until a qualified electrician has determined it is safe to do so
  • If your main electrical panel was under water, it must be cleaned, dried and tested by a qualified electrician to determine if it is safe. Do not use flooded appliances, electrical outlets, switch boxes or fuse breaker panels until they have been checked by the power company.
  • If natural gas lines were under water, contact your gas supplier before resuming service. If natural gas appliances were under water, have them checked by an approved heating, ventilation and air conditioning contractor.

Power outages

See below for a few tips to keep you prepared.

Before the power goes out

  • Have emergency light sources (flashlights, batteries, rechargeable flashlights) in all major rooms of your house such as the kitchen, hallways, family rooms and bedrooms
  • Consider a portable mobile device charger that can keep your phone charged without electricity
  • Have several coolers or ice chests on hand (inexpensive Styrofoam coolers will work), and get a supply of ice for food storage in the event of a long-term power outage
  • Install surge protectors in your home to safeguard valuable electronic equipment such as computers and home entertainment systems
  • Make sure you have at least one vehicle with no less than half a tank of fuel; gas pumps are electrically operated and gas stations will shut down during a power outage

During a power outage

  • First check to see if your neighbours have power. If you are the only home without electricity, check the main fuse in your electric service panel or fuse box to see if the main circuit breaker has been tripped or if a fuse has blown. If your neighbours don't have electricity either, then you know there has been a power outage in your area
  • Turn off all major non-essential appliances such as your electric range and washer/dryer. Appliances and tools left switched on will start up automatically when your power is restored; turning them off prevents injury or fire
  • Avoid opening the fridge unless necessary.
  • If you light candles, use candle holders and never leave burning candles unattended

Stay up-to-date on power outage information, including outage maps, by visiting the SaskPower website.

Generator Safety

If you're thinking of using a generator, always be sure to read the manufacturer's instructions and keep the following tips in mind.

Carbon monoxide safety

  • Do not use a generator indoors or in partially enclosed spaces such as homes, garages and crawl spaces – even those areas with partial ventilation.
  • Do not use near open doors and windows. Using fans will not prevent carbon monoxide build-up in the home. Do not place the generator in front of open windows.
  • Remember that carbon monoxide fumes emitted by gasoline, propane, diesel or gas engines are odourless and can be fatal.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms inside your home to alert you of dangerous levels. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's recommended placement.

Reduce the risk of shock or electrocution

  • Always connect the generator to the appliances with heavy-duty extension cords.
  • Hooking up your generator directly into your home power supply could increase the voltage or could cause a surge to the outside power lines and potentially injure or electrocute an unaware utility lineman. It also bypasses some of the built-in household circuit protection devices.
  • Use a qualified electrician to install the appropriate equipment in accordance with local electrical codes, or ask your utility company to install an appropriate power transfer switch.

Fire Safety

  • Keep your generator outside and fuel your generator outside.
  • Do not store fuel for your generator inside your house. Gasoline, propane, kerosene, diesel and other flammable liquids should be stored outside living areas in properly labeled, non-glass safety containers.
  • Do not store fuel near a fuel-burning appliance, for example a gas stove.
  • If the fuel is spilled or the container is not sealed properly, invisible vapors from the fuel can travel along the ground and be ignited by the appliance's pilot light or by arcs from electric switches.
  • Before refueling the generator, turn it off and let it cool down. Gasoline or other flammable liquids spilled on hot engine parts could ignite and invisible vapors from the fuel can travel along the ground and be ignited by the generator's pilot light or by arcs from electric switches in the appliance.

Severe winter weather

Severe winter weather includes ice storms, blizzards, extreme cold and other severe winter storms that pose a threat to life, property or the environment, staying warm and safe can be a challenge. Winter storms can bring extreme temperatures, extended power failures, loss of communication services and dangerous road conditions. To keep yourself and your loved ones safe, you should know how to prepare your home and your car before a winter storm hits.

Before the storm hits

Listen to weather forecasts, check and restock your emergency kit; make sure you have extra blankets, batteries, emergency food and water supply, etc. ready to go before the storm hits. Even though we can't always predict extreme cold in advance, weather forecasts can sometimes give you several days of notice to prepare.

  • For older adults, keep an easy-to-read thermometer inside your home. If you or a loved one are over 65 years old, place an easy-to-read thermometer in an indoor location where you will see it frequently. Our ability to feel a change in temperature decreases with age. Older adults are more susceptible to health problems caused by cold. Check the temperature of your home often during the winter months.
  • Expect stores to be busy – buy emergency supplies in advance
  • Plan to be without electricity – and heat – for 72 hours
  • Winterize your vehicle – ensure you have snow tires installed well in advance of the winter storm season
  • Create an emergency car kit
  • Make a communications plan for your family – how are you going to get in contact with each other if you're away from home when the storm hits? How are you going to get everyone home?
  • Make a plan to check in with neighbours, family, friends and anyone else who may need your help or whose help you may need
  • Prepare a plan to help your family evacuate if needed

During the storm

  • Keep warm; change out of wet clothing, wear multiple layers, keep plenty of blankets available
  • Stay indoors, if you must go out, dress for the weather to avoid serious cold-related injuries
  • Use your 72 hour emergency kit
  • Avoid driving unless absolutely necessary
  • If you must drive, keep on main roads and avoid unplowed side roads
  • Do not use propane stoves or barbeques indoors. They release deadly carbon monoxide fumes when used indoors
  • If you have pets, bring them indoors and make sure they are dry. If you cannot bring them inside, provide adequate shelter to keep them warm and make sure they have access to unfrozen water
  • Run a trick of water to prevent pipes from freezing
  • Consult safety manual when using space heaters – keep heat sources at least three feet away from furniture and curtains
  • Check in with neighbours, family and friends
  • Evacuate if necessary or if advised to do so from officials

After the storm

  • If power in your home remains out beyond 72 hours, consider going to an emergency shelter (if available) or staying with friends and family
  • Check in with neighbours, family and friends
  • Safely begin to clear debris around your property – fallen tree branches, shovel snow, etc.
  • Keep away from any fallen power lines and do not attempt to remove debris near or on power lines
  • Check with your local waste department for debris collection schedules

Ice storm

Ice storms can be the winter's worst hazard. The severity of ice storms depends on the accumulation of ice, the duration of the event, the location and extent of the area affected. Ice can bring down power lines, tree limbs and sometimes even fully uproot a tree.

When ice is in the forecast, be sure to make sure you are prepared.

  • Check where your car is parked. Make sure it is not under power lines or a tree which can be brought down by ice. Use your garage if you have one or park in a clear area
  • Bring your ice clearing tools inside. Make sure the ice doesn't keep you out of your vehicle by bringing your ice scraper, jumper cables, lock de-icer, etc. inside the house before the ice starts.
  • Re-stock or put together your emergency kit

Here you will find additional government resources to help guide you during emergencies:

What to do during natural disaster?

Emergency Preparedness Guide

Preventative Measures

The Government of Canada website has more information on emergency preparedness.