Are you prepared for an emergency? Developing a plan now can keep you and your family safe if a disaster happens.
A disaster can occur without warning. From hurricanes and tornados to flooding and wildfires, a wide range of natural and manmade disasters can unexpectedly threaten our homes and families.
September is National Preparedness Month, which serves to encourage Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and communities.
If a disaster suddenly happens, basic services such as power, water, sewage treatment and telephone service may be cut off for days, weeks or even longer. Your family may need to survive on its own until services are restored.
Now is the time to begin preparing for your family’s survival.
Make a Plan
Your family may not be together when a disaster takes place, so advance planning is critical. You can start by making a family emergency plan that outlines how family members will contact one another and how they’ll get back together if separated.
Here are a few easy steps to start your emergency plan:
- Make sure all household members are able to receive emergency alerts from local authorities. Check with your local emergency management agency to see what alerts are available in your area.
- Create a paper copy of the contact information for each member of your family, including:
- Phone numbers (work, cell, office)
- Email addresses
- Social media accounts
- Medical facilities, doctors, service providers
- School contacts
- Make sure everyone carries a copy of the contact information in his or her backpack, purse or wallet. Post a copy in a central location in your home, such as a refrigerator or bulletin board.
- Designate emergency meeting places:
- Choose safe, familiar places where your family can go to reunite
- Make sure these locations are accessible for household members with disabilities or access needs
- If you have pets or service animals, consider animal-friendly locations
- Select meeting places both in your neighborhood and outside of your neighborhood
- In case your home becomes inaccessible, select a meeting place outside of your city, such as the house of a relative or family friend. Make sure everyone knows the address of the meeting place and how to get there.
- Have regular household meetings to review your emergency plans and meeting places, and then practice ─ just like you would a fire drill.
Prepare an Emergency Supply Kit
Preparing an emergency supply kit will strengthen your ability to react quickly in the event of a disaster. Your family’s emergency supply kit should be equipped with food, water, medicine and other necessities in sufficient quantities to last for at least three days ─ two weeks if possible.
Try to assemble your kit well in advance of an emergency. You may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice and won’t have time to search or shop for the supplies you need.
Knowing what to do during an emergency may make all the difference for your family when seconds count. Find out where your evacuation shelters are located, and be aware of the emergency evacuation plans at your workplace and your child’s school.
Learn more about preparing for an emergency, including information on emergency alerts and a list of items for your emergency supply kit, at Ready.gov.