You can take steps to decrease the impact of a disaster by planning in advance and learning about potential threats. It is important to make sure that your plans are adequate for your family’s situation. Practice your plans regularly.
Having a basic kit on hand to sustain yourself and your family after an emergency is an essential part of preparation. Think first about basic survival needs: fresh water, food, clean air, and warmth. Store your supplies in a portable container as close as possible to an exit and review the contents of your kit at least once a year. Include in your kit:
- 3-day supply of water: at least 1 gallon per person per day
- 3-day supply of non-perishable food
- Manual can opener and eating utensils
- Supplies to care for your pets including 3-day supply of food and water, ID tags, proof of vaccinations, and veterinarian contact information
- Portable, battery-powered radio
- Extra batteries
- Basic first aid kit and manual
- Warm clothing and blankets
- Filter face masks (N95 rating)
- List of emergency contact information
- Photocopies of important documents (birth certificate, licenses, insurance information, etc.)
- Cash and coins
- Sanitation and hygiene items (hand sanitizer, moist towelettes, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, etc.)
- Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper: 9 parts water to 1 part bleach can be used as a disinfectant, 16 drops of bleach to 1 gallon of water can be used to treat water in an emergency (do not use scented, color safe, or bleaches with added cleaners)
- Items for infants (formula, diapers, bottles, and pacifiers) if applicable
- See ReallyReady Disabilities for more information on building a kit and making a plan if an individual in your family has special needs
Creating a plan will help you respond to an emergency and find your family if you become separated. Be sure to share your plan with others and include a copy in your kit.
- Learn about potential threats. Understanding the characteristics of an emergency and how to respond is critical to survival
- Identify your community’s plan for notifying citizens when a disaster is on its way or actually occurring. Find local information.
- Learn about emergency response plans in locations you and your family members regularly spend time (e.g. work, school)
CREATE A COMMUNICATION PLAN
- Have an out-of-town contact that every member of your family will call after a disaster
- Make sure everyone in your family knows this contact’s phone number
CREATE AN EVACUATION PLAN
- Identify primary and secondary evacuation routes in buildings you frequent
- Identify family meeting places; choose a location close to your home and another outside your neighborhood.
- If you have a car, keep at least a half tank of gas in it in case you need to evacuate
- If you do not have a car, plan how you will leave if you have to
- Become familiar with alternate routes and other means of transportation out of your area (Find local information)
- When evacuating:
- If you are a member of a support network for a disabled individual, be sure to follow your plan to assist them
- Take your emergency supply kit with you
- Lock the door behind you and leave a note telling others when you left and where you are going
- If there is time and space in your car, check with neighbors who may need a ride, especially those who are elderly or disabled
CREATE A SHELTERING PLAN
- Designate a safe room in your home; it should be an interior room where you are able to close and seal all doors, windows, and vents
- Pets, except for service animals, are not allowed in public shelters; if possible, plan your evacuation in advance to find lodging where you may take your pets
- If you must go to a public shelter, leave your pet behind with plenty of food and water, and a note on the door
Learn about potential threats.