Disaster Supplies Kit
Thunderstorms and lightning
Winter storms and extreme cold
Landslides and debris flow
Hazardous materials incidents
Household chemical emergencies
Nuclear power plant emergencies
Radiological dispersion device events
Recovering from Disaster
Health and safety guidelines
Seeking disaster assistance
Coping with disaster
Learn about the hazards that may strike your community, the
risks you face from these hazards and your community’s plans
for warning and evacuation. You can obtain this information
from your local emergency management office or your local
chapter of the American Red Cross.
Where are the
Ask local authorities about each possible hazard or
emergency in your area. Figure out which hazards you may
encounter and how best to prepare for them.
You also can consult FEMA for Hazard Maps in your area,
select maps and follow the directions.
What are Warning Systems and Signals?
The Emergency Alert System (EAS) can address the entire
nation on very short notice in case of a grave threat or
national emergency. Ask if your local radio and TV stations
participate in the EAS.
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather
Radio (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations
broadcasting continuous weather information directly from a
nearby National Weather Service office to specially
configured NOAA weather radio receivers. Determine if NOAA
Weather Radio is available where you live. If so, consider
purchasing a NOAA weather radio receiver.
What about Evacuating Myself and My Family?
When community evacuations become necessary, local officials
provide information to the public through the media. In some
circumstances, other warning methods, such as sirens or
telephone calls, also are used. Additionally, there may be
circumstances under which you and your family feel
threatened or endangered and you need to leave your home,
school or workplace to avoid these situations.
The amount of time you have to leave will depend on the
hazard. If the event is a weather condition you might have a
day or two to get ready. However, many disasters allocate no
time for people to gather even the most basic necessities,
which is why planning ahead is essential.
Evacuations are more common than many people realize. Fires
and floods cause evacuations even more frequently. Almost
every year, people along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts
evacuate due to imminent hurricanes.
What are the basic Evacuation Guidelines?
Keep a full tank of gas in your car if an evacuation seems
likely. Gas stations may be closed during emergencies and
unable to pump gas during power outages
Plan to take one car per family to reduce congestion and
Make transportation arrangements with friends or your local
government if you do not own a car
Listen to a battery-powered radio and follow local
Gather your family and go if you are instructed to evacuate
Leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather
Follow recommended evacuation routes. Do not take shortcuts;
they may be blocked
Be alert for washed-out roads and bridges.
Do not drive into flooded areas
Stay away from downed power lines
If time permits:
Gather your disaster supplies kit
Wear sturdy shoes and clothing that provides some
protection, such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts and a
Secure your home:
- Close and lock doors and windows
- Unplug electrical equipment, such as radios and
televisions, and small appliances, toasters and
microwaves. Leave freezers and refrigerators plugged in
unless there is a risk of flooding
- Let others know where you are going
What Community Plans should be considered?
Ask local officials the following questions about your
community’s disaster/emergency plans.
Does my community have a plan?
Can I obtain a copy?
What does the plan contain?
How often is it updated?
What should I know about the plan?
What hazards does it cover?
In addition to finding out about your community’s plan, it
is important that you know what plans are in place for your
workplace and your children’s school or day care center.
Ask your employer about workplace policies regarding
disasters and emergencies, including understanding how you
will be provided emergency and warning information.
Contact your children’s school or day care center to discuss
their disaster procedures.
What do I do about School Emergency Plans?
Know your children’s school emergency plan:
Ask how the school will communicate during a crisis.
Make sure the school stores adequate food, water and other
Find out if the school is prepared to offer shelter if need
be and where they plan to go if they must get away.
In cases where schools institute measures to
shelter-in-place, you may not be permitted to pick up your
children. Monitor local media outlets for announcements
about changes in school openings and closings, and follow
the directions of local emergency officials.
For more information on developing emergency preparedness
plans for schools, please log on to the U.S. Department of
Education at Emergency Plans.
What do I do about Workplace Plans?
If you are an employer, make sure your workplace has a
building evacuation plan that is regularly practiced.
Take a critical look at your heating, ventilation and air
conditioning system to determine security and be sure you
know how to turn it off if you need to
Think about what to do if your employees can't go home
Make sure you have appropriate supplies on hand