Know What to do In a Disaster

Family members may not all be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to have a plan. Make sure that the entire family is prepared and informed in the event of a disaster or emergency. Know how to contact one another if apart when disaster strikes.

The American Red Cross Suggests Some Basic Steps to Create a Plan

  • Meet with family or household members before a disaster to make a plan.
  • Discuss how to prepare and respond to emergencies that are most likely to happen in your area.
  • Identify responsibilities for each household member and plan to work together as a team.
  • If a family member is in the military, plan how you would respond if they were deployed.
  • Plan what to do in case you are separated during an emergency
  • Choose two places to meet:
      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 have emergency contact information in writing or saved on their cell phones.

Plan What to Do if You Have to Evacuate

  • Decide where you would go and what route you would take to get there. You may choose to go to a hotel/motel, stay with friends or relatives in a safe location or go to an evacuation shelter if necessary.
  • Practice evacuating your home twice a year. Drive your planned evacuation route and plot alternate routes on your map in case roads are impassable.
  • Plan ahead for your pets. Keep a phone list of pet-friendly hotels/motels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes.

Let Your Family Know You're Safe

If your community has experienced a disaster, register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well website to let your family and friends know you are safe. You may also call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) and select the prompt for "Disaster" to register yourself and your family.

The Role of Faith-based Groups in Disaster Response and Recovery

Watch this video from former NEMA Assistant Director Bryan Tuma as he discusses preparedness tips and information for families and churches. This video was produced in cooperation with The American Red Cross and Fr. Steve Thomlinson.