Emergency Preparedness

Home Evacuation Plan 

Create a home evacuation plan. This is a plan that you and your family create together, that maps out the floor plan of your home, and creates a strategy for escaping each room and making it safely outside in the event of a fire. This plan should be taught to and practiced by adults and children alike, at different times of the day, including at night after everyone is typically asleep.

American Red Cross

Have a plan of action that is S.M.A.R.T.

  • Schedule a family meeting
  • Map out 2 escape routes from each room and teach every family member. The map should include a drawing for each floor of the home. Make sure all tools needed are present, such as an escape ladder if someone needs to climb out of a second-story window
  • Arrange an outside meeting place. Make sure children know to stay at that meeting place no matter how long it takes an adult to get there.
  • Remain outside, never re-enter your home.
  • Tell someone to dial 9-1-1 from the nearest phone.

Disaster Kit

When packing a disaster kit, be sure to include 6 main items:

  • Water - Have at least a 3-day supply of water, with 1 gallon of water per person per day.
  • Food - Have at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food. Canned foods, high energy foods like peanut butter, crackers, granola bars, vitamins and even comfort foods like cookies and cereals are best. Include a can opener if needed.
  • First aid kit - Assemble a kit for your home and car.
  • Clothing, bedding, sanitation supplies - Include at least 1 change of clothing and footwear for each family member and clothing for the current climate. Also include personal hygiene items.
  • Tools - Include a collection of useful tools such as paper cups, plates, plastic utensils, battery-operated or self-powered radio, flashlight, extra batteries, fire extinguisher, cash, matches, scissors, etc.
  • Special items - baby formula, medication, extra eye-glasses, bank account numbers, important family documents, etc.

Print out this Emergency Supplies Check List from Ready.gov to make sure your kit is complete.

First Aid Kit

Some of the essential items to include in your First Aid Kit are sterile gloves, bandages, soap, burn and antibiotic ointment, sterile dressing, eye wash solution, thermometer, scissors, tweezers, medications and prescriptions.

Be Prepared to Evacuate

Evacuations of communities occur more often than people think. Be prepared to leave your home in the event that an emergency affects your neighborhood.

  • Know your local warning methods - They may include public messages on your local tv station, radio announcements, sirens, telephone calls or text messages. Know how your community notifies its residents of an emergency and register in advance. Be aware that in a major disaster, some of these methods may not be available.
  • Know your evacuation route - Much like your home escape plan, have an evacuation route in mind. For some disasters, such as flooding or hurricanes, your community may have a set route - have a map with these roads highlighted. A map is also useful in case roads are blocked or bridges are washed out; you may need to quickly find an alternate route. If you do not own a car, make arrangements for transportation with family and friends.
  • Have a meeting place - In case you are not able to meet up with all family members before evacuation, have a set meeting place somewhere in your community. Take into consideration areas that may not be available during an emergency.
  • Other things to keep in mind:
    • Fill your gas tank - gas stations may be closed during emergencies
    • Have a disaster supply kit prepared or keep one in your car if possible
    • Wear sturdy shoes and clothing that provides protection
    • If time permits, unplug all electrical equipment except refrigerators and freezers (unless they're at risk with flooding)
    • Secure your home - lock all doors and windows
    • Leave early to avoid being trapped by bad weather and traffic
    • Notify someone if leaving without your family
    • Stay away from downed power lines

Additional Resources