Get Prepared in 3 Simple Steps
Step 1: Get a Kit
When preparing for a possible emergency situation, it's best to think first about the basics of survival: fresh water, food, clean air and warmth.
Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit
- Water for drinking and sanitation; one gallon of water per person, per day for at least three days
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust masks, to help filter contaminated 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
- Can opener for food (if your kit contains canned food)
- Local maps
Step 2: Make a Plan
Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to plan in advance: how you will contact one another; how you will get back together; and what you will do in different situations.
Family Emergency Plan
- It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members
- Be sure every member of your family knows the phone number and has coins or a prepaid phone card to call the emergency contact
- You may have trouble getting through, or the telephone system may be down altogether, but be patient
You may also want to inquire about emergency plans at places where your family spends time: work, daycare and school. If no plans exist, consider volunteering to help create one. Talk to your neighbors about how you can work together in the event of an emergency. You will be better prepared to safely reunite your family and loved ones during an emergency if you think ahead and communicate with others in advance.
Step 3: Keep Informed
Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as making an emergency supply kit and developing a family communications plan, are the same for both a natural or man-made emergency. However, there are important differences among potential emergencies that will impact the decisions you make and the actions you take. Learn more about the potential emergencies that could happen where you live and the appropriate way to respond to them.
In addition, learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by your state and local government.
Emergency preparedness is no longer the sole concern of earthquake prone Californians and those who live in the part of the country known as "tornado alley." For Americans, preparedness must now account for man-made disasters as well as natural ones. Knowing what to do during an emergency is an important part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count.