Make an Emergency Plan

An emergency plan can help you reach loved ones when normal communication methods are not working or are inaccessible. Most importantly, it may help you stay safe in a disaster and give you peace of mind. Consider making plans for evacuation, communication, and to protect critical documents and your property.

Create a Family Emergency Communication Plan

Know how to contact and meet family members before, during, or after a disaster by making a Family Emergency Communication Plan. The first step is to collect all contact information from your family and add it to the communication plan. Include contact information for other important
people or organizations as well, such as medical facilities, doctors, schools, or service providers.

You should also set an out-of-state point of contact, which enables everyone in your family to share updates through that person if local communication is unavailable. Be sure to have at least two forms of contact for that person.

You may also use social media as an important method of communication with your family. Encourage your entire family to sign up for social media applications such as Facebook Safety Check or American Red Cross Safe and Well.

Make sure everyone understands the Family Emergency Communication Plan and carries a digital or wallet card copy at all times. You should also post a copy in a central location in your home, such as on your refrigerator or family bulletin board. You can find premade templates to build wallet cards and large print plans at

It is vital that your family practice your plan once you have developed it—just like you would a fire drill. Have regular household meetings to go over your communication plan and meeting place after a disaster.

Gather Emergency Supplies 

An emergency supply kit is an essential component to disaster preparedness. You should store emergency supplies in different places, such as your home, office, and vehicle. Your basic emergency supply kit should include the following: 

  • Water. Keep one gallon of drinking water, per person, per day in your kit. Depending on where you live, you may wish to keep 3, 7, or even 14 days of water on hand. 
  • Food. Keep as much non-perishable food, like cans and dry goods, as your family will need to survive a major disaster.
  • Cash. Keep enough cash on hand to buy food, fuel, and a few nights in a hotel in case you need to evacuate.
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) All Hazards Weather Radio with tone alert—keep extra batteries for both. 
  • Flashlight and extra batteries. 
  • First aid kit. 
  • Whistle. 
  • N95 respirator masks. Keep several in your kit. They are light and small, but may keep you safe from smoke and chemicals. 
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Can opener and other food preparation tools. 
  • Local maps
This list serves only as guide. Visit for additional information.  There are many other things to consider such as pets, elderly family members, dietary needs and disabilities. 
After putting together your emergency supply kits, check your needs every six months. Update your kit regularly, especially as your
family’s needs change, to ensure it is ready and safe when disaster strikes.