Preparing for the unthinkable isn’t something most people think about. After all, bad things only happen to other people – right?

Wouldn’t it be great to receive a cautionary note the day before a crisis occurred?

Unfortunately, tragedies don’t understand the rules of fair play.

While we can’t control Mother Nature, Acts of God, or accidents, we can make sure our families are prepared to survive when a crisis erupts by making preparedness a daily watchword and having household emergency plans.

Read the following tips, then download and copy the complete Family Emergency Kit (PDF)


Make sure every family member (including children) knows your emergency plan. Share it with co-workers, neighbors, friends, and extended family members, in and out-of-state. These folks act as relay systems when you need help. Is there an infant or family member with special needs in your home? Make your health department and emergency response teams aware of this and ask how they can help.

Coordinate Emergency Plans

Know your city, and hospital emergency plans, locations and warning signals. Coordinate these plans with those at work, and your children’s schools.

Grab and Go Bag

If you need to evacuate your home, have a bag of essentials that you can quickly picked up and take with you. Use a check list to make sure you have the proper items.
  • General Supplies: First aid kit, medicine, battery operated cell phone charger, crank or battery operated radio, camp stove with fuel (only use outside), water filter, pens, paper, games and activities for your children and you.
  • Cash and Important Documents: Have at least $200.00 in small bills like ones, fives and tens. It’s also important to have access to a national bank in case your local branch or home town bank is closed. Make copies of important documents, (birth certificates, passports, deeds, insurance policy numbers, social security cards, etc.) to keep in your Grab and Go Bag.

Escape Routes

Plan escape routes from your work place and home. Know transportation routes out of your neighborhood, and city, and plan alternatives. Determine a specific meeting place in and outside your community for family members who are not at home.


Always have enough non-perishable foods, drinking water, and essential supplies if you are forced to stay at home. A generator is helpful if the electricity and gas is out.

Technology Use available technology to keep informed and to let others know that you are OK – text messaging, internet, email, cell phones, and radio devices.

Even though there are many national and local agencies that offer support when they are able; create your plan with the idea that no support is available.

Additional Resources

Free Med-Id Wallet Cards

Free Pet Emergency Preparedness Information and Decals

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