Mom and Dad review family communications plan with their son.

How to Prepare for a Disaster

Knowing what to expect and the steps to take in an emergency is the key to protecting yourself and your family. Disasters can happen anytime and anyplace. When a disaster strikes you may have only a short time to respond or prepare for the consequences. An accidental release of a hazardous chemical could mean a need for sheltering-in-place or an immediate evacuation. A winter storm could confine your family to your home. A flood or tornado could cut off basic services in the community; things like gas, water, and electricity for days. The effects of a disaster can be sudden and devastating.

To reduce the effects of a disaster you can prepare and plan ahead for your family. Below is a list of things you can do to prepare now, before disaster strikes.

Every household’s emergency preparations should include:


    Know how to get emergency information from multiple locations.


    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. Use a template or create your own family communication plan. Fill out a family communications plan.


    Your emergency supply kit should include everything your family needs to survive for at least 72 hours. Don't forget to include items for your pets. Print an emergency supply kit checklist.

Learn More

Visit for emergency preparedness guidance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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