Habitat Ready: Disaster Preparedness for Homeowners
Disasters can strike at any moment, with little notice.
In order to protect your home and family, it is important to be prepared and have a plan in place. The family preparedness plan contains four steps that families should take to be ready for any disaster.
Identify what types of disasters are most likely to happen in your area, and learn about how to prepare for each.
Learn about your community’s warning system and signals (sirens, text messages, etc.).
Consider purchasing a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio. This radio broadcasts official warnings, watches, advisories, forecasts and other hazards 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Identify local organizations that perform emergency management (Red Cross/Red Crescent, nonprofits, etc.) and know how to contact them.
Educate yourself on any disaster plans in place at your workplace, children’s school or other places you and your family spend time.
Hold a family meeting
Meet with your family to discuss why it is important to be prepared.
Review the types of disasters that are most likely to occur, and explain what to do in each situation.
Assign responsibilities to each family member, and plan to work together as a team.
Decide on locations where you will meet in case a disaster strike. Outside your home and neighborhood in case of a sudden emergency, such as an earthquake or fire. Outside your city in case you cannot return home.
Discuss what to do in an evacuation and create a family evacuation plan.
If a family member is in the military or frequently away from home, plan how you will respond if he or she is away when a disaster strikes.
Document how your family will communicate if a disaster strikes, and create a family communications plan.
If anyone in your family has a disability or special needs, adjust your plan accordingly.
Be sure to include your family pets in your plan.
Assemble a disaster supply kit.
Locate safe places in your home for each type of disaster.
Determine the best evacuation routes from your home.
Become trained in first aid and CPR.
Show each family member how and where to shut off utilities (water, gas, electricity).
Make a complete inventory of your home and property.
Teach each family member how to use a fire extinguisher and where to find one.
Post emergency contacts (friends, family, neighbors, police, fire, etc.) on the refrigerator.
Practice your plan
Practice your plan with your family on a regular basis (every six months).
Check your disaster supply kit every three months.
Replace stored water and food every three months.
Update any emergency contact info as changes occur.