Make a Plan
Create and practice an emergency plan so your family will know what to do in a crisis.
Create Your Emergency Plan in Just 3 Steps
With your family or household members, discuss how to prepare and respond to the types of emergencies that are most likely to happen where you live, learn, work and play.
Identify responsibilities for each member of your household and how you will work together as a team.
Practice as many elements of your plan as possible.
Include Common Emergency Scenarios When You Plan
- Be familiar with natural disaster risks in your community.
- Consider how you will respond to emergencies that can happen anywhere, such as home fires and floods.
- Consider how you will respond to emergencies that are unique to your region, such as volcanoes, tsunamis or tornadoes.
- Think about emergencies that may require your family to shelter in place (such as a winter storm), vs. emergencies that may require evacuation (such as a hurricane).
- Consult our emergency resource library for tips on preparing for, responding to, and recovering from specific disasters.
- Choose two places to meet up:
– Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, such as a fire
– Outside your neighborhood, in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate
- Choose an out-of-area emergency contact person. It may be easier to text or call long distance if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service. Everyone should carry emergency contact information in writing and saved on their cell phones. Make sure places where your children spend time also have these contact numbers, like at school or daycare.
- Your plan should account for family members who may live elsewhere during the year, such as members of the military on deployment or students away at college, or those who travel frequently.
– How will you need to adapt your plan if they are at home?
– What will you need to do differently if they are away?
Emergency Contact Card
Make cards for the whole family in case you are separated during an emergency.
- Decide where you would go and what route you would take to get there, such as:
– A hotel/motel
– The home of friends or relatives a safe distance away
– An evacuation shelter
- Practice evacuating your home twice a year. Grab your emergency kit, just like you will in a real emergency, then drive your planned evacuation route. Plot alternate routes on your map in case roads are impassable. Make sure you have locations and maps saved on devices such as cell phones and GPS units and on paper.
- Plan ahead for your pets. Keep a phone list of pet-friendly hotels/motels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes. Remember, if it’s not safe for you to stay home, it’s not safe for your pets either.
Some members of your household may need special accommodation during an emergency, which means planning ahead is even more crucial.
If your community experiences a disaster, be sure to register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well website to let your family and friends know you are safe.
Or, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) and select the prompt for “Disaster” to register yourself and your family.
Read more tips for reconnecting with loved ones after a disaster or emergency.