Nature Unleashed is about to end its seven-month run at the museum. One lesson everyone can take away from this exhibition about natural disasters is to plan and prepare—before the next disaster hits!. Learn more from Amy Jarrette with Public Safety Canada, which partnered with the museum during the show’s stay in Ottawa.

If you haven’t yet checked out the Nature Unleashed exhibition at the Canadian Museum of Nature, do it this week before it closes! My kids and I had a great time on our recent visit. They loved the hurricane simulator, and we all had a blast (pun intended) creating different types of volcanoes at the push of a button.

A man and young girl watch some video screens with volcano animations.
Simulating volcano explosions is one of the interactive activities in Nature Unleashed.
Image: Martin Lipman © Canadian Museum of Nature

While Sunday marks the last day of the exhibition, it also marks the start of the 18th annual Emergency Preparedness Week across Canada. Both remind us of the power of Mother Nature, the importance of being prepared for severe weather and other emergencies…if you needed a reminder after winter in Ottawa! That’s why the theme of this year’s Emergency Preparedness Week is ‘Make a Plan’.

As the manager of the Get Prepared campaign at Public Safety Canada, I work with a team that partners with the Canadian Red Cross and other first responder organizations to spread the word about emergency preparedness. And as a mother of two young kids, I know firsthand how useful it is to have an emergency plan.

Photo of a lightning bolt in the night sky over forest fires near Kelowna, B.C.
A lightning bolt flashes across the night sky over Kelowna, B.C during a series of forest fires in 2009.
Image: Dennis Dudley © Environment Canada

A plan will help you and your family know what to do in case of an emergency. For example, your family may not be together when an emergency occurs. A plan will help you identify, in advance, where to meet if you can’t get home or need to evacuate. Consider a safe place to meet, such as a community centre, library, or school. Having a plan, and discussing it with loved ones, will save time and make real situations less stressful.

Showing my family this video on helped to get the conversation going —it’s only three minutes long, so it was able to hold my kids attention. Afterwards, we checked out GetPrepared’s mobile website. This is a great resource that focusses on the key steps to take during various emergencies, like the simple advice to “drop, cover, hold on!” during an earthquake.

While it’s less likely my family and I will experience a major emergency like those featured in Nature Unleashed, it’s almost certain we’ll be affected by severe weather at some point. For this reason, it’s a good idea to assemble a basic emergency kit using the list on

A backpack and clear plastic box containing  emergency items.
Get some peace of mind for your family with an emergency kit.
Image: © Public Safety Canada

Items such as a flashlight, radio and non-perishable food can make a world of difference in an emergency. Enlist your kids or other family members in making your kit. And as a side benefit, these kits, or a related gadget like a weather radio, make great gift ideas for those who have (almost) everything.

This Emergency Preparedness Week, take a few minutes to check out It may not be quite as fun as a hurricane simulator, but hopefully it will help you face the unexpected, and provide a little peace of mind.