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Does Your Family Have an Emergency Preparedness Plan?

What would you do if you were one of the people in Fort McMurray who were told they only have 10 minutes to pack and that you have to leave everything behind right now?

Shocking, horrific, incomprehensible, and overwhelming for the 80,000 + people who had to do exactly this this past week after forest fires destroyed their homes and everything except what they could physically carry.

What would you decide take?  Where do you even start?

Have an Emergency Bag Packed at All Times

Even without the threat of an impending emergency, having an emergency bag packed and placed in one accessible location at all times is a great idea. Family members could pack their own bag, a bag that they can easily carry themselves, such as a backpack.  Consider having a family emergency plan, detailing where your packed emergency bag(s) is/are, where you would meet and how you would communicate or rendezvous to let each other know your status.   The Canadian Red Cross and the Federal Government website both suggest that your emergency bag have enough supplies to last for 3 days.

What to include in your Emergency Bag:

  1. Important papers or photocopies of these documents:
  • SIN card
  • Health Card
  • Passport
  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Personal Identification Card
  • Will
  • POA
  1. Cash, especially small bills, Debit and Credit cards
  2. Basic first aid kit including Band-Aids, disinfectant, small scissors, etc.
  3. Basic tools and equipment such as a shovel, bungee cords, tape, multi-function pocket knife, manual can-opener, whistle, string, etc.
  4. Battery or crank radio and flashlight
  5. Extra batteries
  6. Blanket or sleeping bag
  7. Personal items and comfortable clothing and shoes
  8. High-energy non-perishable food items such as power bars or dried foods
  9. Potable water stored in small containers; 2 liters per person per day

What Can You Do Now to Prepare for an Emergency?

  1. Prepare your emergency bag
  2. Place it in your readily accessible location
  3. Where applicable prepare a family emergency plan
  4. Have an In Case of Emergency ICE contact readily located on your phone or person (see below)
  5. The same should be done with a list of any allergies that members of your family have
  6. Update your contact list on your phone, virtually or on paper
  7. Keep your vehicle in top running condition with regular maintenance
  8. Keep your devices fully charged. You can even charge and store a “backup battery bank” to recharge your devices on the go

To help get your family emergency plan started, I invite you to contact me to receive a free In Case of Emergency ICE contact form.  Does your family have an emergency preparedness plan in place?  I would love to hear from you.  You can connect with me via email or telephone, leave a comment here on the site or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter too!

In the meantime our thoughts prayers and perhaps donations go out to our fellow Canadians in Alberta.


Katherine Downey is the #1 Funeral Preplanning Professional in Canada for the fourth time. She is a professional educator, author, licensed funeral director and insurance advisor. To set an appointment or have your questions answered, please contact Kat directly.

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The Art of Saying Good Bye to Someone You Love

iStock_000012294126XSmallThere is an art to saying goodbye to someone you love dearly and until last week I had never had to use it.  Fortunately I had the opportunity to do this in person.

My Aunt had a knee replacement and was on the road to recovery with Occupational and Physical therapy underway for 2 weeks following the surgery.  Then about 9 days ago she mentioned to my Uncle that she didn’t feel well.  He took her to the hospital and they admitted her immediately.  The issue was pneumonia and fluid on her lungs.  They started an antibiotic regime.   After 8 days of intravenous therapy the pneumonia was not subsiding.  The following day the Doctor was in to see my Aunt and Uncle saying that if the medication did not kick in soon, or Mother Nature took over, there was not much more they could do, and she had 1 – 2 days to live.

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Do You Wish you Had More Contribution Room in Your TFSA?

23735008_sDo you wish you had more contribution room in your TFSA? Consider this.  If you made TFSA contributions since 2009 then you may have contributed the maximum of 5,000.00 per year, totaling approximately $20,000.00.

If you were to prearrange and prepay your eventual funeral arrangements you would be moving your money from a tax sheltered TFSA into a stable, guaranteed and tax-saving EFA – eligible funeral arrangement.

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When Your Spouse Won’t Discuss Death

I really want to preplan my funeral arrangements but my Husband/Wife won’t talk about it. Are you someone who has a spouse who won’t discuss death? I have heard this many times, and it is frustrating for the partner that would like to organize things ahead of time, not to be able to take advantage of the opportunity.

It is frustrating when one partner has the veto power and the other partner has to follow along and keep the peace in the relationship. Often the partner that wants to organize things ahead of time, can see the emotional and financial advantages of doing this.  Yet they must bite their tongue and go along with the usually uninformed decision of their partner.

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4 Service Canada Issues to Consider When Doing Funeral Preplanning

bigstock-Wealthy-Nest-Egg-29498726Last week we discussed 5 items to put on your funeral pre planning list. In keeping with this theme, I would like to share with you 4 Service Canada considerations with respect to budgeting the to-dos on your funeral pre-planning list.

I would recommend that you contact the Canadian Pension Plan and see how the changes introduced from 2011 to 2016 may give your more options as you make the transition from work to retirement.  The Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) is administered through Service Canada and you may contact Service Canada or call them at 1-800-277-9914 toll free in Canada and the United States.  If you require assistance for hearing or speech impairments, then call the TTY number at 1-800-255-4786.  If you are calling outside of Canada or the United States, then please call 613-990-2244  and Service Canada will accept collect calls.  Alternatively you could make an appointment and visit a Service Canada Centre.

Here are the 4 things I would encourage you to explore:

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