Emergency Preparedness Checklist
The next time disaster strikes, you may not have much time to act. Prepare now for a sudden emergency. Learn how to protect yourself and cope with disaster by planning ahead. This checklist will help you get started. Discuss these ideas with your family, then prepare an emergency plan. Post the plan where everyone will see it--on the refrigerator or bulletin board. For additional information about how to prepare for hazards in your community, contact your local emergency management or civil defense office and your American Red Cross chapter.
- Call Your Emergency Management Office or American Red Cross Chapter
- Find out which disasters could occur in your area.
- Ask how to prepare for each disaster.
- Ask how you would be warned of an emergency.
- Learn your community's evacuation routes.
- Ask about special assistance for elderly or disabled persons.
- Ask your workplace about emergency plans.
- Learn about emergency plans for your children's school or day care center.
- Create an Emergency Plan.
- Meet with household members. Discuss with children the dangers of fire, severe weather, earthquakes, and other emergencies.
- Discuss how to respond to each disaster that could occur.
- Discuss what to do about power outages and personal injuries.
- Draw a floor plan of your home. Mark two escape routes from each room.
- Learn how to turn off the water, gas, and electricity at main switches.
- Post emergency telephone numbers near telephones.
- Teach children how and when to call 911, police, and fire.
- Instruct household members to turn on the radio for emergency information.
- Pick one out-of-state and one local friend or relative for family members to call if separated by disaster (it is often easier to call out-of-state than within the affected area).
- Teach children how to make long distance telephone calls.
- Pick two meeting places, a place near your home in case of a fire and a place outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home after a disaster.
- Take a Basic First Aid and CPR Class.
- Keep family records in a water and fireproof container.
- Prepare a Disaster Supplies Kit.
- Assemble supplies you might need in an evacuation. Store them in an easy-to-carry container, such as a backpack or duffle bag.
- A supply of water (one gallon per person per day). Store water in sealed, unbreakable containers. Identify the storage date and replace every six months.
- A supply of non-perishable packaged or canned food and a non-electric can opener.
- A change of clothing, rain gear, and sturdy shoes.
- Blankets or sleeping bags.
- A first aid kit and prescription medications.
- An extra pair of glasses.
- A battery-powered radio, flashlight, and plenty of extra batteries.
- Credit cards and cash.
- An extra set of car keys.
- A list of family physicians.
- A list of important family information; the style and serial number of medical devices, such as pacemakers.
- Special items for infants, elderly, or disabled family members.
In a fire or other emergency, you may need to evacuate your house, apartment, or mobile home on a moment's notice. You should be ready to get out fast. Develop an escape plan by drawing a floor plan of your residence. Using a black or blue pen, show the location of doors, windows, stairways, and large furniture. Indicate the location of emergency supplies (Disaster Supplies Kit), fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, collapsible ladders, first aid kits, and utility shut off points. Next, use a colored pen to draw a broken line charting at least two escape routes from each room. Finally, mark a place outside of the home where household members should meet in case of fire. Be sure to include important points outside, such as garages, patios, stairways, elevators, driveways, and porches. If your home has more than two floors, use an additional sheet of paper. Practice emergency evacuation drills with all household members at least two times each year.
Home Hazard Hunt
In a disaster, ordinary items in the home can cause injury and damage. Anything that can move, fall, break, or cause a fire is a potential hazard.
- Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections.
- Fasten shelves securely.
- Place large, heavy objects on lower shelves.
- Hang pictures and mirrors away from beds.
- Brace overhead light fixtures.
- Secure water heater, strap to wall studs.
- Repair cracks in ceilings or foundations.
- Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products away from heat sources.
- Place oily polishing rags or waste in covered metal cans.
- Clean and repair chimneys, flue pipes, vent connectors, and gas vents.
If You Need to Evacuate . . .
- Listen to a battery-powered radio for the location of emergency shelters.
- Follow instructions of local officials.
- Wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes.
- Take your Disaster Supplies Kit.
- Lock your home.
- Use travel routes specified by local officials.
If you are sure you have time . . .
- Shut off water, gas, and electricity, if instructed to do so.
- Let others know when you left and where you are going.
- Make arrangements for pets. Animals are not allowed in public shelters.
Prepare an Emergency Car Kit
- Battery powered radio and extra batteries
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Booster cables
- Fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type)
- First aid kit and manual
- Bottled water and non-perishable high-energy foods, such as granola bars, raisins and peanut butter.
- Tire repair kit and pump
- Fire Safety
- Plan two escape routes out of each room.
- Teach family members to stay low to the ground when escaping from a fire.
- Teach family members never to open doors that are hot. In a fire, feel the bottom of the door with the palm of your hand. If it is hot, do not open the door. Find another way out.
- Install smoke detectors. Clean and test smoke detectors once a month.
- Change batteries at least once a year.
- Keep a whistle in each bedroom to awaken household members in case of fire.
- Check electrical outlets. Do not overload outlets.
- Purchase a fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type).
- Have a collapsible ladder on each upper floor of your house.
- Consider installing home sprinklers.
General Disaster Preparedness Information
"Your Family Disaster Plan" (ARC 4466)
"Your Family Disaster Supplies Kit" (ARC 4463)
General Disaster Preparedness Materials for Children
"Disaster Preparedness Coloring Book" (ARC 2200, English, or ARC 2200S, Spanish) for use by children 3-10.
"Adventures of the Disaster Dudes" (ARC 5024) video and Presenter's Guide for use by an adult with children in grades 4-6.
To get copies of American Red Cross Community Disaster Education materials, contact your local Red Cross chapter.
The text on this page is in the public domain. We request that attribution to this information be given as follows: From the pamphlet "Emergency Preparedness Checklist." developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross.
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