Family Disaster Plan

Develop a Family Disaster Plan

Gather Information About Hazards

Contact your local National Weather Service office, emergency management or civil defense office, and American Red Cross chapter. Find out what type of disasters could occur in your area and how you should respond. Learn your community's warning signals and evacuation plans.

Meet With Your Family to Create a Plan

Discuss the information you have gathered. Pick two places to meet: A spot outside your home for an emergency such as a fire, and a place away from your neighborhood in case you can't return home. Choose an out-of-state friend as your "family check-in contact" for everyone to call if the family gets separated. Discuss what you would do if advised to evacuate.

Implement Your Plan

  • Post emergency telephone numbers by all your phones
  • Install safety features in your home such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers
  • Inspect your home for potential hazards such as items that can move, fall, break, or catch fire, and correct them
  • Have your family learn basic safety measures such as CPR and first-aid, how to use a fire extinguisher, and how and when to turn off water, gas, and electricity at your home
  • Teach children how and when to call 911 or your local Emergency Medical Services number
  • Keep enough supplies in your home to meet your needs for at least 3 days. Assemble a disaster supplies kit* with items you may need in case of an evacuation. Store these supplies in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers. Keep important family documents in a waterproof container. Keep a small disaster kit in the trunk of your car.
    • * A Disaster Supply Kit Should Include:
      • A 3-day supply of water (one gallon of water per person per day) and food that won't spoil
      • One change of clothing and footwear per person
      • One blanket or sleeping bag per person
      • A first-aid kit, including prescription medicines
      • Emergency tools, including a battery-powered NOAA Weather radio or portable radio, a flashlight, and plenty of extra batteries
      • An extra set of car keys and a credit card or cash
      • Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members

Practice and Maintain Your Plan

Ask questions to make sure your family remembers meeting places, phone numbers, and safety rules. Conduct drills. Test your smoke detectors and change the batteries at least once a year. Test and recharge your fire extinguisher(s) according to the manufacturer's instructions. Replace stored water and food every 6 months.