Call Your Emergency Management Office, Local Health Department, or American Red Cross Chapter

  • Find out which disasters could occur in your area.
  • Ask how to prepare for each disaster.
  • Ask how you would be warned of an emergency.
  • Learn your community’s evacuation routes.
  • Ask about special assistance for elderly or disabled persons.
  • Ask your workplace about emergency plans.
  • Learn about emergency plans for your children’s day care center or school.

Create an Emergency Plan

  • Meet with household members to discuss the dangers of fire, severe weather, earthquakes and other emergencies.  Explain how to respond to each.
  • Find the safe spots in your home for each type of disaster.
  • Discuss what to do about power outages and personal injuries.
  • Draw a floor plan of your home.  Mark two escape routes from each room.
  • Show family members how to turn off the water, gas and electricity at main switches when necessary.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers near telephones.
  • Teach children how and when to call 911, police and fire.
  • Instruct household members to turn on the radio for emergency information.
  • Pick one out-of-state and one local friend or relative for family members to call if separated during a disaster (it is often easier to call out-of-state than within the affected area).
  • Teach children your out-of-state contact’s telephone numbers.
  • Pick two emergency meeting places.  1) A place near your home in case of fire.  2) A place outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home after a disaster.
  • Take a basic first aid and CPR class.
  • Keep family records in a water and fire-proof container.

Prepare a Disaster Supplies Kit

Assemble supplies you might need in an evacuation.  Store them in an easy-to-carry container such as a backpack or duffle bag.

  • A supply of water (one gallon per person per day).  Store water in sealed, unbreakable containers.  Identify the storage date and replace every six months.
  • A supply of non-perishable prepackaged or canned food and a non-electric can opener.
  • A change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes.
  • Blankets or sleeping bags.
  • A first aid kit and prescription medications.
  • An extra pair of glasses.
  • A battery-powered radio, flashlight, and plenty of batteries.
  • Credit cards and cash.
  • An extra set of car keys.
  • A list of family physicians.
  • A list of important family information; the style and serial number of medical devices such as pacemakers.
  • Special items for infants, elderly, or disabled family members.


Create a family disaster plan.

Learn more about specific emergencies from the American Red Cross.

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