Disaster Supplies Kit
Thunderstorms and lightning
Winter storms and extreme cold
Landslides and debris flow
Hazardous materials incidents
Household chemical emergencies
Nuclear power plant emergencies
Radiological dispersion device events
Recovering from Disaster
Health and safety guidelines
Seeking disaster assistance
Coping with disaster
Emergency Planning and Checklists
Now that you’ve learned about what can happen and how your
community is prepared to respond to emergencies, prepare
your family by creating a family disaster plan. You can
begin this process by gathering family members and reviewing
the information you obtained about hazards, warning systems,
evacuation routes and other plans). Discuss with them what
you would do if family members are not home when a warning
is issued. Additionally, your family plan should address the
- Escape routes
- Family communications
- Utility shut-off and safety
- Insurance and vital records
- Special needs
- Caring for animals
- Safety Skills
How can I Make and Use Escape Routes?
Draw a floor plan of your home. Use a blank sheet of paper
for each floor. Mark two escape routes from each room. Make
sure children understand the drawings. Post a copy of the
drawings at eye level in each child’s room.
Where Should We Meet?
Establish a place to meet in the event of an emergency, such
as a fire. Examples:
Near the Home
Next door neighbor’s telephone pole
Outside the Immediate Area
Grocery Store Parking Lot
How do I plan for Family Communication during a Disaster?
Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so
plan how you will contact one another. Think about how you
will communicate in different situations.
Complete a contact card for each family member. Have family
members keep these cards handy in a wallet, purse, backpack,
etc. You may want to send one to school with each child to
keep on file. Pick a friend or relative who lives
out-of-state for household members to notify they are safe.
How do I handle Utility Shut-off and Safety?
In the event of a disaster, you may be instructed to shut
off the utility service at your home.
Below is some general guidance for shutting off utility
Modify the information provided to reflect your shut off
requirements as directed by your utility company.
Natural gas leaks and explosions are responsible for a
significant number of fires following disasters. It is vital
that all household members know how to shut off natural gas.
Because there are different gas shut-off procedures for
different gas meter configurations, it is important to
contact your local gas company for guidance on preparation
and response regarding gas service in your home.
When you learn the proper shut-off procedure for your meter,
share the information with everyone in your household. Be
sure not to actually turn off the gas when practicing the
proper gas procedure.
If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a
window and get everyone out quickly. Turn off the gas, using
the outside main valve if you can and call the gas company
from a neighbor’s home.
CAUTION - If you turn off the gas for any reason, a
qualified professional must turn it back on. NEVER attempt
to turn the gas back on yourself.
Water quickly becomes a precious resource following many
disasters. It is vital that all household members learn how
to shut off the water at the main house valve.
Cracked lines may pollute the water supply to your house. It
is wise to shut off your water until you hear from
authorities that it is safe for drinking
The effects of gravity may drain the water in your hot water
heater and toilet tanks unless you trap it in your house by
shutting off the main house valve
Preparing to Shut Off Water
Locate the shut-off valve for the water line that enters
Make sure this valve can be completely shut off. Your valve
may be rusted open, or it may only partially close. Replace
it if necessary
Label this valve with a tag for easy identification and make
sure all household members know where it is located
Electrical sparks have the potential of igniting natural gas
if it is leaking. It is wise to teach all responsible
household members where and how to shut off the electricity.
Preparing to Shut Off Electricity
Locate your electricity circuit box
Teach all responsible household members how to shut off the
electricity to the entire house
FOR YOUR SAFETY: Always shut off all the individual circuits
before shutting off the main circuit breaker.
How do I guarantee My Insurance and Vital Records?
Obtain property, health and life insurance. Review existing
policies for the amount and extent of coverage to ensure
that what you have in place is what is required for your
family in any hazard.
If you live in a flood-prone area, consider purchasing flood
insurance to reduce your risk of flood loss. Buying flood
insurance to cover the value of a building and its contents
will not only provide greater peace of mind, but will speed
the recovery if a flood occurs. You can call 1 (888) FLOOD29
to learn more about flood insurance.
Inventory Home Possessions
Make a record of your personal property, for insurance
purposes. Take photos or a video of the interior and
exterior of your home. Include personal belongings in your
You may like to download the free Household and Personal
Property Inventory Book from the University of Illinois at
Vista Abstract to help you record your possessions.
Store important documents like insurance policies, deeds,
property records and other important papers in a safe
place--such as a safety deposit box away from your home.
Make copies of important documents for your disaster
Consider saving money in an emergency savings account that
could be used in any crisis. It is advisable to keep a small
amount of cash or traveler’s checks at home in a safe place
where you can quickly access them in case of evacuation.
How do I Plan for Special Needs in the family for an
If you or someone close to you has a disability or a special
need, you may have to take additional steps to protect
yourself and your family in an emergency.