Personal and Family Preparedness
Personal Preparedness is everyone’s job. Not just government agencies but all sectors of society– service providers, businesses, civic and volunteer groups, industry associations and neighborhood associations, as well as every individual citizen–should plan ahead for disaster. As such, preparedness programs are developed to target each of these audiences in order to educate, promote and test preparedness.
- Make a plan today. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area. Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.
Step 1: Put together a plan by discussing these 4 questions with your family, friends, or household to start your emergency plan.
- How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
- What is my shelter plan?
- What is my evacuation route?
- What is my family/household communication plan?
Step 2: Consider specific needs in your household.
As you prepare your plan tailor your plans and supplies to your specific daily living needs and responsibilities. Discuss your needs and responsibilities and how people in the network can assist each other with communication, care of children, business, pets, or specific needs like the operation of durable medical equipment. Create your own personal network for specific areas where you need assistance. Keep in mind some these factors when developing your plan:
- Different ages of members within your household
- Responsibilities for assisting others
- Locations frequented
- Dietary needs
- Medical needs including prescriptions and equipment
- Disabilities or access and functional needs including devices and equipment
- Languages spoken
- Cultural and religious considerations
- Pets or service animals
- Households with school-aged children
Step 3: Fill out a Family Emergency Plan
Download and fill out a family emergency plan or use them as a guide to create your own.
Step 4: Practice your plan with your family/household
Build a Kit
Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with the items on the checklist below. Most of the items are inexpensive and easy to find, and any one of them could save your life. Headed to the store? Download a printable version to take with you. Once you take a look at the basic items, consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets, or seniors.
After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.
Basic Disaster Supplies Kit
To assemble your kit, store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.
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 food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
- First aid kit
- Extra batteries
- 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
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
Download the Recommended Supplies List (PDF)
Planning for Special Needs
If you or a loved one has special needs, it is vitally important that you plan for how you will respond during a disaster. Your emergency supplies kit becomes even more important, as it contains medical supplies that may be essential to your survival. Planning now for how you will evacuate your home and where you will go will make a huge difference when the time comes. While public shelters will be available during the disaster, they will not have the comforts of home and should be seen as an option of last resort. Instead, try to identify friends or family members that you could stay with if you are evacuated from your home. For more information on disaster preparedness for people with special needs, please visit Special Needs Planning.