Plan & Prepare

Where will your family be when disaster strikes? They could be anywhere - at work, at school, or in the car. How will you find each other? Will you know if your children are safe?

Create a Disaster Plan
Disaster can strike quickly and without warning. It can force you to evacuate your neighborhood or confine you to your home. What would you do if basic services - water, gas, electricity or telephones - were cut off? Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone right away. Families can, and do cope with disaster by preparing in advance and working together as a team. Create a family disaster plan. Knowing what to do is your best protection and responsibility.

Emergency Supplies
Keep enough supplies in your home to meet your needs for at least 3 days. Assemble a Disaster Supply Kit with items you may need during an evacuation.

Locate the main electric fuse box, water service main and natural gas main. Learn how and when to turn these utilities off. Teach all responsible family members and keep necessary tools near gas and water shut-off valves.

Home Hazard Hunt
During a disaster, ordinary objects in your home can cause injury or damage. Anything that can move, fall, break or cause a fire is a home hazard. For example, a hot water heater or a bookshelf can fall.

Inspect your home at least once a year and fix potential hazards.


Evacuate immediately if told to do so:
  • Listen to your battery-powered radio and follow the instructions of local emergency officials.
  • Wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes.
  • Take your Disaster Supply Kit.
  • Lock your home.
  • Use travel routes specified by local authorities - don't use shortcuts because certain areas may be impassable or dangerous.
4 Steps to Safety
Follow these 4 steps and keep you and your family safe during emergencies.

Find Out What Could Happen
Contact your local Office of Emergency Management or American Red Cross Chapter and find out what potential emergencies could happen in your area.

Create a Disaster Plan
Meet with your family and discuss why you need to prepare for disaster. Explain the dangers of fire, severe weather and hazardous materials to children. Plan to share responsibilities and work together as a team.

Complete the Checklist

  • Check for adequate insurance coverage
  • Conduct a home hazard hunt
  • Create a Disaster Supply Kit
  • Determine the best escape routes
  • Find safe spots in your home for each type of disaster
  • Install smoke detectors
  • Learn CPR and first aid
  • Post telephone numbers (fire, police, etc)
  • Show family how and when to turn off utilities
  • Teach children how and when to use 911
  • Teach family the use of fire extinguishers

Practice & Maintain
Be sure to practice your plan and make sure everyone remembers it.

More Information
The Office of Emergency Management encourages you to create a disaster plan and be prepared for the various emergencies that could potentially impact our area. If you have any questions or concerns, or would like to receive additional preparedness materials, contact us at 281-470-0010 or by email.