Ed. note: This was originally published on FEMA.gov.
September is National Preparedness Month. Putting together a family preparedness plan for disasters or emergencies can serve you well in any circumstance. Whether you are facing a severe weather event, a fire in your home, a hazardous materials incident in the neighborhood, or any other emergency, it’s a good idea to plan in advance.
- Talk to your family members about preparedness and how to respond calmly to emergencies. Discuss what you would need to do to shelter in place, leave your home or evacuate your city.
- Identify two meeting places, one near your home and one away from the neighborhood in the event family members cannot return to the house.
- Post emergency phone numbers beside the telephone. Teach children how to call 911.
- Choose a friend or relative out-of-state whom all family members will telephone to check in. The out-of-state relative can relay messages. When evacuating, notify relatives and friends about your plans. Be familiar with designated evacuation routes leading out of town.
- Draw a home floor plan and choose at least two escape routes. Make sure you know how to shut off the water, gas and electricity.
- Keep an emergency supply kit, including water, non-perishable food, important documents, radio and flashlight with extra batteries, extra eye glasses, medications and special needs products for babies and the elderly.
- Make plans for family members or neighbors with special needs, as well as for care of pets.
During National Preparedness Month, and throughout the year, FEMA and the Ad Council invites everyone to prepare in advance for all types of natural disasters. The Ready Campaign's websites (ready.gov and listo.gov) and toll-free numbers (1-800-BE-READY and 1-888-SE-LISTO) provide free emergency preparedness information and resources available in English and Spanish.