“Are You Ready? An In-Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness” is a
free on-line training course with all the checklists that you
will need to prepare your Family Emergency Plan. It can be used as
a reference source or as a step-by-step manual. The focus of the
content is on how to develop, practice, and maintain emergency
plans that reflect what must be done before, during, and after a
disaster to protect people and their property. Also included is
information on how to assemble a disaster supplies kit that
contains the food, water, and other supplies in sufficient
quantity for individuals and their families to survive. This
course is highly recommended for every citizen!!
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
Every member of the family should have a copy of
your Family Emergency Plan on their person at all times; we suggest
putting your Plan into a sturdy zip-lock sandwich bag to keep it nice
and dry. Put a copy in the glove box of every vehicle you own; mom
can put a copy in her purse; for school-age kids we suggest keeping a
copy in a zippered pencil pouch that goes into their 3-ring binder.
an out-of town contact. 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.
every member of your family knows the phone number
and has a cell phone, coins, or a prepaid
phone card to call the emergency contact. If you have a
cell phone, program that person(s) as "ICE" (In Case of Emergency)
in your phone. If you are in an accident, emergency personnel will
often check your ICE listings in order to get a hold of someone you
know. Make sure to tell your family and friends that you’ve listed
them as emergency contacts.
family members how to use text messaging (also knows as SMS or Short
Message Service). Text messages can often get around network
disruptions when a phone call might not be able to get through.
to alert services. Many communities now have
systems that will send instant text alerts or e-mails to let you
know about bad weather, road closings, local emergencies, etc. Sign
up for alerts by visiting your
W.A.R.N. (Wide Area Rapid Notification web site. And watch our
Alerts page for other
Planning to Stay or Go
Depending on your circumstances and the nature of
the emergency, the first important decision is whether you stay where
you are or evacuate. You should understand and plan for both
possibilities. Use common sense and available information, including
what you are learning here, to determine if there is an immediate
danger. In any emergency, local authorities may or may not immediately
be able to provide information on what is happening and what you
should do. However, you should watch TV, listen to the radio or check
the Internet often for information or official instruction as it
Further information on staying put or sheltering in place.
Find out what kinds of disasters, both natural and
man-made, are most likely to occur in your area and how you will be
notified. Methods of getting your attention vary from community to
community. One common method is to broadcast via emergency
radio and TV broadcasts. You might hear a
special siren, or get a telephone call, or emergency workers may go
Use the New Online
Family Emergency Planning Tool created by the Ready Campaign in
conjunction with the Ad Council to prepare a
printable Comprehensive Family Emergency Plan.
Quick Share application to help your family in assembling a quick
reference list of contact information for your family, and a meeting
place for emergency situations.
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. Read more:
School and Workplace.