- First, find out what bad things could occur in your community. Do you live in a hurricane area, a flood zone, or an area where earthquakes happen? Learn about what you would do in those different disasters.
- Your local government and local Red Cross chapter should have details on evacuation routes. Learn the emergency signals and discuss them with your family.
- Determine the best ways to leave your home and the best ways to escape disaster in your neighborhood or town.
- If you cannot meet loved ones inside your home, determine a meeting place in the neighborhood. You may also consider looking at evacuation plans outside of the neighborhood or community in case meeting in the vicinity in your home isn’t possible.
- Check out disaster plans at school, daycare, work, and places where you and your family tend to spend time in the community. Try to coordinate the evacuation procedures at each place to ensure everyone will be able to reach each other, or will end up on the same side of town.
- It's not a bad idea to have a Plan A, a Plan B, and a Plan C. Whatever your plans are, make sure everyone in the family knows about it and knows what to do in different scenarios.
- During disasters, it may be easier to call long distance, since cell phone lines and local telephone networks may be down or overwhelmed, so be sure to have an out-of-town emergency contact.
- After a disaster, services or aid might not arrive for days. You might even have to flee your home or you might not be able to get to your house. In such cases, it will help to have a few things handy. Make a disaster kit for your home and car, along with a portable one.
- Don't forget to think about how to care for pets during an emergency. Many shelters may not allow them inside because of health laws, so make sure to prepare your pooch for the worst.
- This is all a lot to remember, so make sure to write down your family's plans and emergency contact numbers, and give everyone copies.
American Red Cross
Department of Homeland Security
San Francisco Office of Emergency Services and Homeland Security