Take the following steps to make sure you and your family are
prepared for any emergency:
- Post emergency telephone numbers by phones
- Install safety features in your house, such as smoke
detectors and fire extinguishers
- Inspect your home for potential hazards (such as items that
can move, fall, break, or catch fire) and correct them
- Have your family learn basic safety measures, such as CPR and
first aid; how to use a fire extinguisher; and how and when to
turn off water, gas, and electricity in your home
- Teach children how and when to call 911 or your local
Emergency Medical Services number
- Keep enough supplies in your home to meet your needs for at
least three days. Assemble a disaster supplies kit with items you
may need in case of an evacuation. Store these supplies in
sturdy, easy-to-carry containers, such as backpacks or duffle
- Keep important family documents in a waterproof
- Keep a smaller disaster supplies kit in the trunk of your
- Pick two meeting places:
- Right outside of your home in case of a sudden emergency,
like a fire.
- Outside of your neighborhood in case you can’t return
home or are asked to leave your neighborhood. Everyone must know
the address and phone number of the meeting locations.
- Develop an emergency communication plan for getting back
together in case you’re separated during a disaster.
- Ask an out-of-town relative or friend to be your "family
contact" outside of your area.
- Make arrangements for a place to stay with a friend or
relative who lives out of town and/or learn about shelter
- Be familiar with escape routes. Depending on the type of
disaster, it may be necessary to evacuate your home. Plan several
escape routes in case certain roads are blocked or closed.
Remember to follow the advice of local officials during
evacuation situations. They will direct you to the safest route;
some roads may be blocked or put you in further danger.
- Teach all responsible family members how and when to turn off
the water, gas, and electricity at the main switches or valves.
Keep necessary tools near gas and water shut-off valves. Turn off
utilities only if you suspect a leak or damaged lines, or if you
are instructed to do so by authorities. If you turn the gas off,
you will need a professional to turn it back on. Paint shut-off
valves with white or fluorescent paint to increase visibility.
Attach a shut-off valve wrench or other special tool in a
conspicuous place close to the gas and water shut-off
- Check if you have adequate insurance coverage.
- Determine the best escape routes from your home in
preparation for a fire or other emergency. Find two ways out of
- Find the safe places in your home for each type of disaster.
Different disasters often require different types of safe places.
- Make two photocopies of vital documents and keep the
originals in a safe deposit box. Keep one copy in a safe place in
the house, and give the second copy to an out-of-town friend or
- Make a complete inventory of your home, garage, and
surrounding property. The inventory can be either written or
videotaped. Include information such as serial numbers, make and
model numbers, physical descriptions, and price of purchases
(receipts, if possible).
- Conduct fire and emergency evacuation drills at least twice a
year. Actually drive evacuation routes so each driver will know
the way. Select alternate routes in case the main evacuation
route is blocked during an actual disaster. Mark your evacuation
routes on a map; keep the map in your
- Replace stored food and water every six months. Replacing
your food and water supplies will help ensure freshness.
- Test your smoke alarms once a month and replace the batteries
twice a year.
lan to take care of your pets. If you must
evacuate, it is best to take your pets with you. However, pets
(other than service animals) are not permitted in public
shelters, according to many local health department regulations
and because of other considerations.
- Contact hotels and motels outside of your immediate area to
check their policies on accepting pets and restrictions on the
number, size, and species. Ask if "no pet" policies could be
waived in an emergency.
- Ask friends, relatives, or others outside of the affected
area whether they could shelter your animals.
- Prepare a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians who
could shelter animals in an emergency; include 24-hour phone
- Keep a list of "pet friendly" places, including their phone
numbers, with other disaster information and supplies.
- Carry pets in a sturdy carrier
- Have identification, collar, leash, and proof of
vaccinations for all pets.
- Assemble a portable pet disaster supplies kit. Keep food,
water, and any special pet needs in an easy-to-carry
- Have a current photo of your pets in case they get