Preparing for an emergency

Posted 5/23/23

Emergencies can happen suddenly. Here are steps you should take so that your family is ready if something terrible happens.

Start here for the basics, and visit for more.

Make a …

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Preparing for an emergency


Emergencies can happen suddenly. Here are steps you should take so that your family is ready if something terrible happens.

Start here for the basics, and visit for more.

Make a plan: Create a disaster plan for your household that includes emergency contact information, evacuation routes and a meeting place in case you are separated. Practice the plan with your family or household members.

Pets too: Ensure your pets are safe too. See “And don’t forget your pets" (see below).

Build an emergency kit: See “What’s in your go bag?” (click here).

Stay informed: Sign up for emergency alerts and notifications through your local emergency management agency. Stay updated on the latest weather conditions and emergency alerts in your area. Sign up for local alerts and notifications.

Know whom to call: Click here to see the call list.

Know your utilities: Can you turn off your home’s water, gas and electricity in case of an emergency? If not, take time to learn how.

Secure your home: Make sure your home is secure by installing smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers in key locations. For more, visit

Think about a backup power source: Consider investing in a generator or portable battery charger, in case of a power outage.

Stay connected: Keep your mobile devices fully charged, and have backup batteries or portable chargers available.

Safeguard your info: Store important information in a USB drive containing digital copies of important documents. You can also keep this information in a secure place in the cloud, or save paper copies in a waterproof container. See “Save your information,” at

Remember, being prepared can make a huge difference in how you and your family cope with an emergency.

Information from ready/gov.

Should I store food or other items?

If you have painful memories of the toilet paper shortage—or the supply-chain-related lack of another item—you might want to keep a supply of some things on hand.

Not all emergencies require you to evacuate. Maybe you’ll be at home, but the closest stores will be closed or inaccessible.

Make a list of items—such as toilet paper or toothpaste—that you use and replace regularly. Consider buying a few extra and saving them just in case.

When it comes to food—and we all have to eat—many people keep a supply of canned goods and other items on hand. This can be enough for a week, a month, three months—even a year or more.

Here is a basic list of what you could keep on hand. Books or sites about food storage can be very helpful, and can guide you in how to create food storage when your income is low, or how to store food in a limited space.

Consider these emergency food supplies

Choose foods your family will eat.

Remember any special dietary needs. suggests the following items when selecting emergency food supplies. You may already have many of these on hand.

  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables and a can opener
  • Protein or fruit bars
  • Dry cereal or granola
  • Peanut butter
  • Dried fruit
  • Canned juices
  • Non-perishable pasteurized milk, such as Parmalat
  • High-energy foods
  • Food for infants
  • Comfort/stress foods

Food safety and sanitation

When the power goes out, especially in the summertime, refrigerated or frozen food can become unsafe to eat.

Bacteria in food grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and if these foods are consumed you can become very sick.

Remember, “When in doubt, throw it out.”

Eat—and replace—your stores, so you know the quality is good.

Learn more at or at

Children and disasters

When you have kids, emergency management becomes even more critical.

Your plan should include evacuation routes, designated meeting places and emergency contacts.

If possible, develop the plan with your kids.

Practice it with your family members.

Involve a child in creating a go bag.

Teach children about different types of disasters and what to do in each situation.

Explain the importance of staying calm and following the emergency plan.

Have a communication plan: In case of an emergency, ensure that your child knows how to contact you and other designated emergency contacts. Also, be sure that your child knows their home address and phone number. Emergencies can happen when you aren’t together.

Practice safety measures: Teach your child basic safety measures, such as how to use a fire extinguisher, how to turn off the gas and water lines, and how to recognize danger signs.

Consider your child’s specific needs. If your child has any special needs, ensure that your go bag or emergency kit includes medication, medical equipment and assistive devices.

Remember, the key to disaster preparedness for children is to involve them in the planning process. Educate them on what to do in case of an emergency and practice the emergency plan regularly.

Learn more at

You love your animals. When you make plans for emergencies, don't forget the needs of your pets too.
You love your animals. When you make plans for emergencies, don't forget the needs of your pets too.

And don’t forget your pets

Pets are part of your family too, so make plans to take care of them in the event of a disaster.

Identify pet-friendly shelters in your area before an emergency occurs. Not all shelters accept pets, so it’s important to have a backup plan in case you need to evacuate with your pets. Could a friend take the pet? Can you afford to stay in a motel that is pet-friendly? You can also consult your vet for suggestions.

Keep your pet’s identification up to date: Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with identification tags that include your current contact information. Consider microchipping your pet to increase the chances of being reunited if you become separated during a disaster.

Prepare an emergency kit for your pet. Include enough food, water and supplies for at least three days. recommends a two-week supply of medications. Don’t forget litter boxes for cats and pee pads for dogs, if necessary. Make sure you have a copy of your pet’s medical records and vaccination records in the kit. And be sure the name and contact information for your vet is clearly marked. Include recent photos of your pet.

Keep handy one carrier or crate per pet in case you need to evacuate quickly. Make sure your pet is familiar with the carrier or crate and is comfortable spending time in it. (In other words, don’t just take them to the vet in it.)

If you have a larger pet, provide a leash or harness so the pet can be transported safely.

Pet first aid: Your vet can advise best. But a pet first-aid kit  could include a bag of storage-safe treats, antiseptic, triple antibiotic ointment, bandages and bandage scissors, liquid bandage spray, tweezers, hemostats, sterile purified water, syringes of saline solution, medical sponges/gauze pads, a small needle, paper tape, tongue depressors, a rectal fast-take thermometer, superglue, a small pair of safety scissors and a cone for their head.


preparedness, list, emergency plan


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