Emergency Preparedness

Emergency preparedness means planning ahead for an emergency. During an emergency, you may need resources to survive on your own for several days. 

About emergency preparedness

Being prepared means reducing the immediate negative impact when disaster happens. By having a plan in place, you can connect quickly with family or friends because you’ve planned ahead.

During a public health emergency, access to food, water, daily medications, and other resources may be limited. Individuals, families, businesses, and communities can prepare for all public health emergencies by following a few simple steps.

Also, keep in mind that after a disaster in your area family and friends will be concerned with your safety. Let loved ones know you're safe by visiting the American Red Cross Safe and Well website.

 

Three children in disaster area
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The Emergency Kit Checklist is intended to help you prepare for disasters before they happen.

Emergency preparedness information

How to prepare

Creating a plan for what to do in an emergency is necessary for everyone. Disasters come in so many forms and no one is immune from the expected: Severe weather, tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, earthquake, fire and so on…Have a strategy in place BEFORE something bad happens is key to maintaining you and your family's comfort and safety.

See the home emergency preparedness fact sheet (PDF).

In addition to accumulating the necessary basics, your plan should focus on the following:

  1. The best way to get to safety (in home and away from it)
  2. Methods of communication
  3. How to reunite after the disaster
When to prepare

Right now is a good idea. Preparing for an emergency situation begins long before anything happens.

Talk to the whole family and mutually agree on the different communication signals that you have in place. Remember that a lot of the times during a crisis situation that phone lines and cell towers go down so you need a back up plan of communication. Pick a family member or friend who doesn’t live in your area to be a contact point for everyone to check in with. During a disaster the first thing anyone needs or wants is reassurance that everyone is accounted for and safe.

Early preparation should also involve accumulating an emergency preparedness kit that can be quickly grabbed in any situation.

Five necessities of survival:

  • Water
  • Food
  • Energy
  • Shelter
  • Security

Get a kit, make a plan, be informed

Get a kit

You should have a three-day supply that includes:

  • Food and one gallon of water per person per day
  • First aid supplies
  • A flashlight with extra batteries
  • Any prescription medications you or a family member takes daily 
  • A battery powered radio

Download the emergency kit checklist to get started.

*Note: Customize your kit to meet your family's needs, i.e. diapers, pet food and water, special needs, etc.

Make a plan

Creating an emergency preparedness kit and making a plan can lessen the impact of an emergency.

  • Learn about the types of emergencies that can occur in your area
  • Ask about the emergency plans at your work, your school, and around your community

Since you may not be with your family or loved ones during a public health emergency, it's important to: 

  • Decide how you will contact one another
  • Decide how you will get back together if separated
  • Decide on plans for evacuating, if needed
  • Identify an out-of-town contact and make sure everyone can get in touch with that person 
Be informed