How To Prepare for Emergencies

Severe natural disasters can be particularly punishing to those who haven't prepared. Make an effort to put together a disaster preparedness kit and get involved.

Are You Ready? Being prepared for a disaster can save lives.

Emergency Kit

Step 1. Make a Plan

Take the time to make an evacuation and communication plan and discuss it with your family. Know how to reach family members at their work, school or day care. Program "ICE" or "In case of emergency" into your cell phone. Rescuers will look for this number if you're unable to speak. Program the number to dial a family member or friend. Other tips include:

  • Choose two places for family to meet, outside your home and outside your neighborhood.
  • Have a friend or relative's phone numbers and email addresses for out-of-town contacts.
  • Pick two evacuation routes from home, neighborhood, school, and work.
  • Put a wrench near natural gas shut-off.
  • Locate water main shut off.
  • Prepare two signs for window that say "Okay" and "Help".
  • Check fire extinguishers regularly for expiration dates.
  • Establish a neighborhood-gathering site.
  • Prepare a neighborhood plan for disaster recovery.
  • Learn local emergency organizations to report to as part of disaster recovery plan.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers by the phone and make copies for your kit.

Step 2. Build a Kit

Your disaster supply kit can save your life. The city's main responsibility is to protect life and health in a major disaster. It may take several days or more before someone may be able to assist you. Having these essential supplies will help you survive:

  • Water for 3 days or more - 1 gallon per person per day (at a minimum).
  • Food, a 3-day supply or more of non-perishable food and a manual can opener.
  • Radio - Battery or crank-operated and NOAA Weather Radio with extra batteries.
  • Flashlight or battery operated lantern with extra batteries.
  • Whistle to signal for help.
  • Extra clothes, sturdy shoes and blankets.
  • First Aid Kit, including Ibuprofen, thermometer, and anti-bacterial hand-wash or wipes.
  • Special need items such as prescription medication, eyeglasses, personal hygiene items, and pet food.
  • Dust mask, to help filter 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.
  • Important family documents stored in a portable, waterproof container.

Step 3. Get Involved

We can all help each other during an emergency or disaster. Get to know your neighbors and find out what special needs or skills your neighbors have. Are there seniors and children living on your street? What kind of assistance might they need? Be sure to do the following:

  • Get trained in CPR, basic first aid, and CERT.
  • Visit your local fire department for information about how to prevent fires.
  • Get to know your community: Attend community events such as National Night Out.
  • Be informed. Discuss the types of emergencies that may occur in your area and how you will respond.

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training

CERT training helps people gain the skills and tools needed to take care of themselves and others for three days or more following a disaster or major incident.

Safety Skills

Learning important safety skills such as First Aid, CPR, how to use a fire extinguisher and how to shut off your utilities will help protect you and your family. Visit for more information.