It is critical that residents are aware of the actions that should be taken during emergencies. Immediately following an emergency essential services may be cut off and local relief may not be able to come to the aid of those in need. Knowing what to do in the mean time is critical.

Be Aware

In cases of severe weather, emergencies or disasters, residents will be alerted by activation of the outdoor warning sirens, Smart911 (emergency notification system), as well as designated radio and television stations.

Get Trained

Learn basic first aid and CPR so you can be prepared to provide care for your family and/or neighbors.

Meet with Your Neighbors

Take the time to meet with your neighbors to plan how your neighborhood could work together after a disaster. Know your neighbors' skills (medical, technical). Consider how you could help neighbors who have special needs, such as elderly or disabled persons. Make plans for child care in case parents cannot get to their homes.

Make a Plan

One of the most important steps you can take in preparing for emergencies is to develop a household disaster plan.  Learn about disasters and other emergencies that could occur in your community from your local public safety departments. Consider the following when planning for disasters: 

  • Discuss with your family the disasters that can happen where you live.
  • Establish responsibilities for each member of your household and plan to work together as a team.
  • Choose two places to meet after a disaster: outside of your home (for sudden emergencies) and outside your neighborhood (for evacuations).
  • Learn how to switch off utilities such as electricity, gas and water.
  • Have a fire extinguisher in your home and know how to use it.
  • All household members should have emergency contact information with them. Be sure to include out-of-town contacts because it may be easier to call out of the area in the event local phone lines are out of service.

Build a Preparedness Kit

Recommended items to include in a basic Emergency Supply Kit:

  • 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 food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit and a 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
  • Can opener for canned food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

Additional items to consider adding to an Emergency Supply Kit:

  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
  • Cash or traveler's checks and change
  • Emergency reference material such as a first aid book
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate
  • Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can 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.
  • Fire Extinguisher Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
  • Paper and pencil Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

Rethink your kit every year and update according to the needs of you and your household.

DO NOT CALL 911 to ask questions. Call only if you have an emergency! For more information visit ready.gov.