Preparing for an Emergency

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Disaster can strike at any moment, and without notice. Learn to cope with disasters by preparing in advance. Prepare by following these steps:

  1. Be Informed / Make a Plan
  2. Assemble an Emergency Supply Kit
  3. Make a Family Communication Plan
  4. Keep your Plan up to date

1. Be Informed / Make a Plan

Create a household emergency plan and share it with each household member. Talk with your family about potential disasters and why it's necessary to prepare for them. Involve each member of your family in the planning process. By showing them simple steps that can increase their safety, you can help reduce their anxiety about emergencies.

Learn more about how to make a plan at

2. Assemble an Emergency Supply Kit

Emergencies can happen without warning, so have an emergency kit prepared. You likely already have many of the items you need for a kit at home. Find them, add missing items, and keep them together so they are easy to find when you need them.

Learn more about how to build an emergency kit:

3. Make a Family Communication Plan

It is important to plan ahead so you and your family are calmer and better equipped during an emergency. Meet with your family members and review the information you gathered about your community. Choose an out-of-town contact person, whether that be a friend or family member, to call during an emergency. Devise a plan of where to meet in the event of an emergency. Complete a family communication plan, which includes phone numbers, meeting locations, emergency services, and important personal information. Discuss and practice escape routes, in case there is a fire or you need to be evacuated at a moment’s notice. Draw a floor plan of your home, making sure you label possible escape routes, location of supply kits, location of utility shut off points, ladders, smoke alarms, and fire extinguishers. Ensure there is a plan in place for people with disabilities, seniors, and pets.

Download an easy to complete communication plan chart from FEMA.

4. Maintain Your Plan

Review your plan every six months and ensure your family knows what to do as well. Practice any fire drills or evacuation drills on a regular basis. Restock any food or water supplies, checking expiration dates. Test smoke alarms, be aware of recharge dates on fire extinguishers, and check battery expiration dates.