Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to think about the following situations and plan just in case. Consider these questions when making a plan:
How will my family/household get emergency alerts and warnings?
How will my family/house-hold get to safe locations for relevant emergencies?
How will my family/household get in touch if cell phone, internet, or landline doesn’t work?
How will I let loved ones know I am safe?
How will family/household get to a meeting place after the emergency?
Here are a few easy steps to start your emergency communication plan:
Understand how to receive emergency alerts and warnings: Make sure all household members are able to get alerts about an emergency from local officials. Check with your local emergency management agency to see what is available in your area, and learn more about alerts by visiting www.ready.gov/alerts.
Discuss family/household plans for disasters that may affect your area and plan where to go: Plan together in advance so that everyone understands where to go during different types of disaster, like a hurricane, tornado, or wildfire.
Collect information: Create a paper copy of the contact information for your family that includes phone (work, cell, office), email, social media, medical facilities (doctors, service providers), and school.
Identify information and pick an emergency meeting place:
Decide on safe, familiar places where your family can go for protection or to reunite.
Make sure these locations are accessible for household members with disabilities or access and functional needs.
If you have pets or service animals, think about animal-friendly locations.
Examples of meeting places:
In your neighborhood: mailbox at the end of the driveway, or a neighbor’s house
Outside of your neighborhood: library, community center, place of worship, or family friend’s home
Outside of your town or city: home of a relative or family friend. Make sure everyone knows the address of the meeting place and discuss ways you would get there.
Share information: make sure everyone carries a copy in his or her backpack, purse, or wallet. You should also post a copy in a central location in your home, such as your refrigerator or family bulletin board.
- Practice your plan. Have regular household meetings to review your emergency plans, communication plans and meeting place after a disaster, and then practice, just like you would a fire drill.
Building your emergency kit
A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:
Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable items
Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
Flashlight and extra batteries
First aid kit
Whistle to signal for help
Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
Manual can opener for food
Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
Additional emergency supplies
Once you have gathered the supplies for a basic emergency kit, you may want to consider adding the following items:
Prescription medications and glasses
Infant formula and diapers
Pet food and extra water for your pet
Cash or traveler’s checks and change
Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or free information from websites
Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes
Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper — When diluted, nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant, or use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water (do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners)
Matches in a waterproof container
Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
Paper and pencil
Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children