Emergency Preparedness

After an Emergency

Do not re-enter your home unless authorities advise you it is safe to do so. Leave your home if you suspect or smell a natural gas leak when you arrive. From another location, call 911 and ask for the fire department. The fire department will notify the gas company.

Re-entering your home

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Check for blown fuses and look for short-circuits in your home wiring and equipment – if you suspect a problem, call your utility company.
  • Report any emergency situation to the police or fire department.
  • Notify your insurance agent or broker if your property is damaged.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • If children must be present during the clean-up operations, supervise them closely.
  • Before entering a flooded building, check for foundation damage and make sure all porch roofs and overhangs are supported.
  • If your basement is full of water, drain it in stages, about a third of  the volume of water per day (draining too quickly can cause structural damage).
  • Using a dry piece of wood, turn off the electricity at the main breaker or fuse box.
  • Wear rubber gloves, boots and protective eyewear when cleaning.
  • Do not use wet appliances or motors unless a qualified electrician has serviced them.
  • Contact your local heating repair company to inspect your furnace and chimney.
  • Check to see that sewage lines are intact before flushing toilets.
  • Report damaged water, sewage and gas lines to the proper authorities.
  • Dispose of all contaminated food.

Children and emergencies

Children may experience fear and anxiety after an emergency. Parents can help by:

  • Encouraging children to express themselves through play or drawing.
  • Talking about what happened, and what’s being done.
  • Comforting young children with physical care, holding and hugging.
  • Keeping the family together as much as possible.
  • Giving children information they can understand.

Coping with a disaster

During, or following a traumatic event, it is not unusual to have physical and emotional reactions. To help you cope:

  • Recognize that the way you react to the event is not unusual.
  • Try not to make big life changes.
  • Talk to family members and friends.
  • Listen to one another and help each other with daily tasks.
  • Try to achieve a balance between rest and activity.
  • Seek counseling to help cope with the emotional trauma associated with disasters.


You should check your insurance policy before an emergency to find out if you have enough coverage and exactly what types of damage will be covered.

For insurance purposes make sure you:

  • Have an accurate description of your home.
  • An inventory of your belongings.
  • Take photographs, record serial numbers, and keep copies of receipts to show the value of items.

If an emergency damages your home or possessions take immediate steps to protect your property from more damage and contact your insurance company as soon as possible.

For free information on car and home insurance, call the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s consumer information line at 1-800-387-2880 or visit the Insurance Bureau of Canada website.