Less than half of Canadians have an emergency kit, according to survey

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Less than half of Canadians say they have an emergency kit at home, says a new survey from Statistics Canada.

The staggering low number – 47 per cent – of Canadians say they have not set aside emergency items like “water, food, medicine, flashlights or cash” in case of an emergency at home, however three quarters of Canadians say they are confident that they can manage during an emergency.

The numbers come from the 2014 Survey of Emergency Preparedness and Resilience in Canada just released on Wednesday. While the emergency kits appear to be the worst-performing area in the survey, some 98 per cent of Canadians say they live in a house with a working smoke detector and 90 per cent say they had at least one person to rely on in case of emergency.

Most people indicated winter storms and extended power outages as most likely to affect their community, and 50 per cent also cited the outbreak of a serious disease as a potential threat.

British Columbians performed on par or better than the national average, with 59 per cent of people in B.C. owning a battery-operated or wind up radio and around half having an alternative heat or water source.

“This report investigates emergency preparedness activities and risk awareness among Canadians aged 15 and over from across the 10 provinces,” says Statistics Canada.

“The SEPR, developed in partnership with Defence Research and Development Canada’s Centre for Security Science and Public Safety Canada and conducted for the first time in 2014, contributes to the understanding of community resilience in Canada by examining how Canadians prepare for and respond to emergencies or disasters. The survey also collects information on a number of socio-demographic characteristics that may make some groups more or less prepared or vulnerable in a disaster.”

Some other notable figures from the survey include:

  • 98% of Canadians live in homes with a working smoke detector
  • 66% have a working fire extinguisher
  • 60% have a working carbon monoxide detector
  • 23% have a back-up generator
  • 43% have an alternate source of water on hand (for example, a well or litres of stored water)
  • 69% have prepared an emergency contact
  • 55% have a contact plan for getting in touch with household members if they were ever separated as a result of an emergency

British Columbians looking to improve their emergency preparedness can go to PreparedBC to learn about how to plan if a disaster strikes.

 

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Jill Slattery Jill Slattery was born and raised in Vancouver, where she also earned an Arts degree from UBC in English and Creative Writing. She is an avid TV-watcher and a shameless Taylor Swift fangirl. Jill is a Staff Writer at Vancity Buzz. Contact her at jill@vancitybuzz.com
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