It's Emergency Preparedness Week. So consider this information like a free insurance package to help get you, your family and your colleagues emergency-ready.

The City of Toronto says it may take up to 72 hours for emergency services to reach you, so you need to be prepared before, during an after an emergency.

You never know when you could require shelter, or when you could need an evacuation destination.

Below is some basic information to help you start your emergency preparedness plan. (This is not a complete list for emergency planning. For further details, you'll find a link to all of the City's emergency planning information at the bottom of the page.)

Before An Emergency

Have a plan and make sure everyone in your home knows it. Know your exits, your meet-up locations, where your emergency kits are, and whom to contact. Also, if you have children, have their school contact information on hand and make sure they know whom to contact if you're separated.

If you live in a high-rise, make yourself familiar with all exits and know your muster points. It's helpful to know your neighbours, including those who may be vulnerable or have special needs.

Have a go-to emergency kit that includes basic needs for adults — and for children and pets if necessary. This kit should include an emergency contact list, prescription medications, medical supplies, and a first-aid kit. Don't forget a battery-powered radio along with supplies to cover vent openings or airways.

It's important to have a three-day supply of drinking water and non-perishable foods (for family and pets, of course). And if you have pets, ensure you have a copy of their medical records, plus additional food and water.

During An Emergency

Try to stay connected to updates and the community any way you can, be it through radio, newspaper, TV, or your neighbours and community. And throughout a major emergency, follow the City on Twitter @TorontoComms or @TorontoOEM for up-to-date information.

If you experience a power outage, turn off and unplug all devices and appliances. But leave a light or radio on to alert you when power is restored.

Do not leave candles unattended. And do not use a propane barbecue indoors.

Also, should you be asked to evacuate, please follow orders and please take your pets with you. Pets left behind may not survive.

After An Emergency

Let your family and loved ones know you are safe. Then connect with your insurance company.

Should you not have a place to stay, the City of Toronto will try to find you a place where you can stay along with any pets you may have. (Note, the City may have to arrange for your pet(s) to stay at a kennel or vet.)

When you return home, you need to check for damage, including to your natural gas, electrical and main water valve and pipes.

Workplace Preparedness

Toronto offers a  “Get Emergency Ready – At Work” preparedness guide. It walks you through the most common emergency situations, from fire alarms to lockdowns to active attackers to medical emergencies and suspicious packages or threatening communications.

You should also review your emergency plans at least once a year.

For a full list of emergency preparedness items and information, please visit the City of Toronto's public safety alerts page.