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British Columbia Emergency Preparedness for the Blind, Deafblind and Partially Sighted Community

blind man examining emergency kit contents

“I'm grateful for the thoughtful inclusion of workshops tailored for individuals with visual impairments. It's commendable and highly valuable to ensure that everyone, regardless of abilities or disabilities, has access to essential emergency preparedness information and training. This has given me the knowledge and tools needed to cope in the event of an emergency and the confidence that I would have the ability to manage if I were to find myself alone. I found the whole idea of being prepared very daunting, but the resources broke it down into manageable steps.”

Workshop Attendee

In 2023, our BC Affiliate received a project grant from Disability Alliance BC (funded by the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction) to develop a Personal Response to Emergency Preparedness Project. Laura Mackenrot was hired as Project Manager and responsible for researching, planning, delivering, and documenting up-to-date practical and accessible information related to emergency preparedness. Our thanks go out to Laura for her excellent work; her extensive experience serving several organizations representing persons with disabilities was an asset which speaks volumes to the success of the Personal Response to Emergency Preparedness Project.


The goal of the project was to enable British Columbians who are blind, deafblind and partially sighted to be better prepared to cope with the number of emergencies we face in our province. We wanted to empower people with the knowledge and confidence to stay safe in the event of an emergency whether at home, in a vehicle, or in a workplace. 


After evaluating the level of preparedness within the blind community through a targeted survey, the project team at the BC Affiliate developed interactive virtual workshops featuring presentations from local experts. The workshops were attended by over 70 participants. At the end of the workshops, we provided templates for participants to develop personalized emergency preparedness plans that would meet everyone’s unique needs. We also developed emergency supplies lists to help people create grab-and-go kits. We distributed commercial emergency kits to workshop participants and held a demonstration on typical emergency kit contents and usability. Finally, we evaluated the accessibility of online resources most helpful to our community.


Below you will find links to download the lists and templates developed for this project so you can create your own emergency kits and plans. Below, you will find online resources that may help you discover more information available from government and other agencies. This is not an exhaustive list, but some of the resources we felt were helpful. If you prefer to speak with someone by phone for community information, contact 211 BC by text or phone by dialing 2-1-1. 

Emergency Plan Downloads

Online Resources

Federal Resources

Get Prepared – Government of Canada

Get Prepared is the government of Canada’s main website for emergency preparedness. The site includes extensive information to understand the risks in your area, create a household emergency plan and build an emergency kit. The guides are provided both in pdf and as text-based webpages.


Earthquakes Canada

Government of Canada website that lists recent significant earthquake reports, map of earthquakes in the last 30 days, and other information on earthquakes.


The Canadian Earthquake Early Warning System (EEW)

The Earthquake Early Warning System (EEW) is coming to parts of B.C., providing us with valuable seconds of warning time to drop, cover, and hold on. This is all thanks to an array of sensors designed to detect quakes and notify people in critical areas directly.


Emergency Preparedness and Recovery – Canadian Red Cross

Essentials tips from the Red Cross on how to be better prepared and to recover from emergencies.



Alertable is a mass notification software created for emergency and communication managers. Critical alerts are issued for severe events so that residents and communities are aware and can prepare for an event. The system can be used on a computer or download the Alertable app for your phone or tablet. Available in iOs or Android.

Provincial Resources


Emergency Info BC lists active emergencies happening in British Columbia and immediate steps on what to do. Follow @EmergencyInfoBC on Twitter/X


Prepared BC Guides - BC Government

This page provides a number of emergency guides and resources, however the guides are only pdf files and not provided as text-based webpages.


BC Public Emergency Preparation & Recovery

This page provides a number of resources including knowing hazards and making a plan, preparing emergency supplies, what happens in an evacuation, and financial assistance after a disaster.


Emergency Education Programs and Toolkits – BC Government

This page provides education and awareness materials for the general public, resources for teachers, community events, and social media kits.


BC Wildfire Service

This site provides information on current wildfires as well as links to more resources on preparedness and recovery.

BC Wildfire Service iOS App



Traveller information system website that includes highway conditions and events, BC highway webcams, and other safe vehicle and driving tips.


British Columbia Earthquake Alliance

Founded in 2010, the British Columbia Earthquake Alliance (BCEA) is a Not-for-profit Society and our mission is to build a culture of earthquake and tsunami preparedness, through efforts such as the Great British Columbia ShakeOut held on October 19th.


City of Vancouver Website Hot Weather Information

For information on staying cool in the summer heat, Cooling Centres and the location of other cooling services and supports.


City of Vancouver Website Winter Weather Information

For information on staying warm and safe in winter storms, Warming Centres, and other supports.


City of Vancouver Website Emergency Preparedness Information

Video and other information on knowing your hazards, planning and supplies, disaster support hubs, and staying informed.


Vancouver Neighbourhood Houses

If you live in Vancouver, consider calling or emailing your local neighbourhood house to see what supports they offer during extreme heat or winter storms. Some of the neighbourhood houses offer wellness checks or calls for seniors or people with disabilities during extreme heat events, and you can call and asked to be added to their wellness check list. They also distribute free City of Vancouver Cool Kits each summer and offer other cooling activities and supports.



SUCCESS offers heat wellness check-in calls for seniors during extreme heat events. They provide wellness check calls in the following languages: English, Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin), and Japanese. To sign up:  For more information about services or programs, call 604-684-1628 or email:


Climate Ready BC

How BC is rising to the challenge of disaster and climate risk

Municipal Resources

Check your local municipal office websites for information on emergency preparedness and shelters. Not all municipal websites list this information so you may have to contact offices by phone. Tune to your local radio station during significant events to find out what’s happening and any local instructions to guide you and keep you safe. The link below lists local municipality websites.

Civic Info BC Municipalities

Emergency Kits & Supplies

We recommend you start with a pre-made kit and then add personalized items to better serve you and your household’s unique needs. You can find great first aid kits at your nearest hospital or pharmacy, such as Red Cross. They also tend to be affordable. Here are some links to online kits for purchase.


72 Hour Emergency Kit Survival Kit

St. John Ambulance Online Store

Canadian Red Cross Kits

Partners in Preparedness: Retail Program

Mountain Equipment Coop

K9 Sportsack – Dog Carrier Backpacks

Audio & Video Resources

CBC Fault Lines

A catastrophic earthquake hits Canada's West Coast. In Fault Lines CBC Vancouver Seismologist Johanna Wagstaffe guides you through two disastrous scenarios so you can prepare yourself, your family, and your neighbours.


AMI Emergency Series

These videos detail the steps Canadians in the blind and partially sighted community should take to be prepared for emergencies. Each video is approximately 3 minutes, with a total of 20 videos.


CELA Audiobook: The disaster-ready home: A step-by-step emergency preparedness manual for sheltering in place By Creek Stewart

A complete, step-by-step manual for safely sheltering-in-place at home so you are prepared for any disaster or disease.


CELA Audiobook: Are You Ready?: An In-Depth Guide to Disaster Preparedness

By Federal Emergency Management Agency, US Department of Homeland Security

Everything you need to know to prepare for and recover from dozens of natural and man-made disasters and threats


CELA Audiobook: The Neighborhood Emergency Response Handbook: Your Life-Saving Plan for Personal and Community Preparedness by Scott Finazzo

A complete, step-by-step guide to preparing yourself and your community to aid first responders during a disaster situation.

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