Preparedness Tips

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National Preparedness Month (NPM) 2020 Theme:

Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today.

Use Hashtag #NatlPrep, and Emoji's with your social messages.

The NPM 2020 Weekly Themes are as follows:

Disasters and Emergencies

Hurricanes are dangerous and can cause major damage because of storm surge, wind damage, and flooding. They can happen along any U.S. coast or in any territory in the Atlantic or Pacific oceans. Storm surge is historically the leading cause of hurricane-related deaths in the United States. Eastern Pacific hurricane season is from May 15 to November 30 and Atlantic hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30.

Make a Plan

Make a plan today. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area. Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.

Step 1: Put a plan together by discussing it with family, friends or household.

Step 2: Consider specific needs in the household.

Step 3: Fill out a family emergency plan. Emergency Plan for Parents (PDF)

Step 4: Practice your Plan with your family or household

Get Involved

There are many ways to Get Involved especially before an emergency or a disaster occurs, the content found on this page will give you some ideas of how you can take action in your community.

Preparedness Planning For Your Business

Businesses and their staff face a variety of hazards:

  • Natural hazards like floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes.
  • Health hazards such as widespread and serious illnesses like the flu.
  • Human-caused hazards including accidents and acts of violence.
  • Technology-related hazards like power outages and equipment failure.

There is much that a business leader can do to prepare his or her organization for the most likely hazards. The Ready Business program helps business leaders make a preparedness plan to get ready for these hazards.

Welcome to Ready Kids

Disasters happen everywhere, and every member of the family can prepare. Preparedness for the future starts today.

Whether you’re a kid or teen yourself, a parent or loved one, or work with youth, Ready Kids has tools and information to help before, during and after disasters.

National Preparedness Month Tips of the Day

There are a few simple steps you and your family can take to become better prepared for an emergency: Get a Kit, Make a Plan, Be Informed and Get Involved. September is National Preparedness Month - please follow these "Tips of the Day" from the American Red Cross and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to help you and your family get started today! If you already have an emergency plan and disaster supply kit for you and your family this month would be a perfect time to review them and update them if needed.

Address comments regarding the Tips of the Day to

9/1 Tip Of The Day - Best Way Out

In an emergency, do you know the best escape routes to get out of your house? Find at least two ways out of each room. Now write them down - you've got the beginning of a plan. To make a complete emergency plan, go to website and click on Make a Plan.

9/2 Tip Of The Day - Oh, the places you'll go

Designate two places to meet after an emergency with your family. Identify a location right outside your home, in case of a sudden household emergency such as a fire. The second location should be outside your neighborhood, in the event that it is not safe to stay near or return to your home.

9/3 Tip Of The Day - Make a connection

Choose an emergency contact that lives outside your area since it may be easier to call long distance after a disaster. Share this number with your family. Also, be sure to have a landline in your home and a phone that works without electricity since cellular phones may not be in service during a disaster.

9/4 Tip Of The Day - Pet project

Don't forget your pets in the planning process. Find out in advance which public shelters in your community will take pets in case you have to evacuate. Be sure to include three days worth of food, water, and any medications your animal may need in your emergency supply kit. Also, be sure to have collars, leashes, pictures of you and your pet, and ID tags readily available. For more information about pet preparedness, visit website click on Get a Kit then click on Pet Items.

9/5 Tip Of The Day - Make it a habit

Make it a point to review your emergency plan, update numbers and check supplies to be sure nothing has expired, spoiled or changed. Do this twice a year when you change your clock and replace the batteries in your smoke detector.

9/6 Tip Of The Day - What about the kids?

Know your child's school emergency plan. Keep a copy at home and work as part of your home emergency plan. Also, include your children in the planning process by having them participate in assembling your supply kit, so they, too, will know how to utilize these resources.

9/7 Tip Of The Day - Get Emergency Help

Teach your children how and when to call 9-1-1 or your local emergency medical services number for help. Post these and other emergency numbers by your telephones. Help your children learn more about emergencies by visiting:

9/8 Tip Of The Day - Work together

A community working together during an emergency makes sense. Talk to your neighbors about how you can work together during an emergency. Find out if anyone has specialized equipment such as a power generator or has expertise, such as medical knowledge, that might help in a crisis situation. Decide who will check on your older neighbors, as well as neighbors with disabilities and other special needs. Develop back-up plans for children in case you can't get home during an emergency.

9/9 Tip Of The Day - What's the plan, boss?

Do you know the emergency preparedness plan for your workplace? If you don't, make a point to ask. Know multiple ways to exit your office building, participate in workplace evacuation drills and consider keeping some emergency supplies at the office. Visit to learn more about how to prepare your business.

9/10 Tip Of The Day - Be ready to go!

Make sure you have a to-go bag on hand in case you have to evacuate. Your portable kit should include: water, food, battery-powered radio and flashlight with extra batteries, first-aid supplies, change of clothing, blanket or sleeping bag, wrench or pliers, whistle, dust mask, plastic sheeting and duct tape, trash bags, local map, a manual can opener for canned food and special items including medication for infants, older individuals, or individuals with disabilities and other special needs. Keep these items in an easy to carry container such as a covered trash container, a large backpack or a duffel bag.

9/11 Tip of the Day - Food for thought

Preparing for emergencies can be inexpensive if you think ahead and buy small quantities at a time. Supplies should sustain each member of your family for at least three days following an emergency. Make a list of foods that:

- Have a long shelf-life and will not spoil (non-perishable)

- You and your family enjoy

- Do not require cooking

- Can be easily stored

- Have low-salt content as salty foods can make you thirstier

9/12 Tip Of The Day - First Aid

Make sure you have a first-aid kit for your family. Be sure to check it regularly and also ensure it is well stocked. For a list of suggested supplies, visit: then scroll down and click on First Aid Kit.

9/13 Tip Of The Day - Water is essential

Store a minimum of one gallon of water per person for at least three days, to be used for drinking, food preparation, and sanitation. Store your water in thoroughly washed plastic, glass, fiberglass or enamel-lined metal containers. Never use a container that has held toxic substances. Plastic containers such as soft drink bottles are best. You can also purchase food-grade plastic buckets or drums. Seal water containers tightly, label them and store in a cool, dark place. Rotate water every six months.

9/14 Tip Of The Day - What's in YOUR kit? (Part 1)

One of the easiest ways you can prepare for emergencies is to keep some supplies readily available. Every kit is unique and can be tailored to meet the specific needs of your family, but below is a general list of supplies you may want to consider:

- Water, one gallon per person, per day for three days

- Food for at least three days

- Battery-operated radio and extra batteries

- Flashlight and extra batteries

- Cash or traveler's checks, change

- First-Aid kit

- Whistle

- Dust mask

- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation

- Shut-off wrench or pliers, to turn off household gas and water

- Map of the area (for locating shelters and evacuation routes)

Be Ready for Disasters During Coronavirus. Pack face coverings and disinfectants in your emergency kit. An emergency kit with masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectaing wipes.

Be Ready for Disasters During Coronavirus: Emergency Kit

Download Graphic

9/15 Tip Of The Day - What's in YOUR kit? (Part two)

Consider the following additional items for your emergency preparedness kit:

- Prescription medications and glasses

- Infant formula and diapers

- Pet food and extra water for your pet

- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, and identification bank account records in a waterproof portable container

- Emergency reference material such as a First-Aid book or information from

- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate

- Complete change of clothing including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate

- Fire extinguisher

- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items

- Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels

- Paper and pencil

- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

9/16 Tip Of The Day - Car kit?

You should also keep a smaller version of your emergency supply kit in your vehicle, in case you are en route when disaster strikes.

The emergency kit for your vehicle should include:

- Bottled water and non-perishable high-energy foods, such as granola bars, raisins and peanut butter

- Flashlight and extra batteries

- Blanket

- Booster cables

- Fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type)

- First-aid kit and manual

- Local maps

- Shovel

- Tire repair kit and pump

- Flares or other emergency marking devices

9/17 Tip Of The Day - Office kit?

You should also keep an emergency supply kit in your office, in case you need to shelter-in-place there. Think about your individual needs when planning. Some suggestions for a workplace kit include:

- Bottled water

- High-energy food bars

- 12-hour light sticks

- Blanket

- First-aid kit

- Change of clothes

- Personal hygiene items

- Medications and medical information

- AM/FM portable radio

- Whistle

9/18 Tip Of The Day - Surf the 'net

Print emergency preparedness information and be sure to keep a copy with your disaster supplies kit. It can provide telephone numbers, addresses and other local information you need when electronic connections are not available.

9/19 Tip Of The Day - Know how to treat contaminated water

Always use bottled water for drinking and cooking if it is available. Unsanitary water can be very dangerous to your health. If you don't know the level of purity of the water, it should always be treated.

Use one or a combination of these treatments:


Boiling is the safest method of treating water. Bring water to a rolling boil for 3-5 minutes, keeping in mind that some water will evaporate. Let the water cool before drinking.


You can use household liquid bleach to kill microorganisms. Use only regular household liquid bleach. Do not use scented bleaches, color-safe bleaches or bleaches with added cleaners. Add 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water stir and let stand for 30 minutes. If the water does not have a slight bleach odor, repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes.

Flood water can also be contaminated by toxic chemicals. Do NOT try to treat flood water.

9/20 Tip Of the Day - Know how to turn off utilities

In some emergencies, you may be required to turn off your utilities so it is important to learn how and when to turn off utilities. To prepare for this type of event:

- Locate the electric, gas and water shut-off valves.

- Keep necessary tools near gas and water shut-off valves.

- Teach adult family members how to turn off utilities.

- If you turn off the gas, a professional must turn it back on. Do not attempt to do this yourself.

During an emergency you may be asked to "shelter-in-place" or evacuate. Plan for both possibilities and be prepared to listen to instructions from your local emergency management officials.

Visit the following website; for more information on sheltering-in-place and evacuation.

Be Ready for Disasters During Coronavirus. Confirm which shelters near you will be open. Computer with a search for shelters open.

Be Ready for Disasters During Coronavirus: Shelters

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9/20 Tip Of the Day - Know how to turn off utilities

In some emergencies, you may be required to turn off your utilities so it is important to learn how and when to turn off utilities. To prepare for this type of event:

Locate the electric, gas and water shut-off valves.

Keep necessary tools near gas and water shut-off valves.

Teach adult family members how to turn off utilities.

If you turn off the gas, a professional must turn it back on. Do not attempt to do this yourself.

9/21 Tip Of The Day - Understand shelter-in-place and evacuation

During an emergency you may be asked to "shelter-in-place" or evacuate. Plan for both possibilities and be prepared to listen to instructions from your local emergency management officials.

Visit the following website; for more information on sheltering-in-place and evacuation.

9/22 Tip Of The Day - Recovering financially

A disaster can cause significant financial loss. Your apartment or home may be severely damaged or destroyed, causing you to be forced to live in temporary housing. Income may also be cut off or significantly reduced, and important financial records could be destroyed. Assess your current financial situation, ask questions and plan how you would recover from a disaster.

9/23 Tip Of The Day - Earthquake Readiness 101

Learn if earthquakes are a risk in your area by contacting your local emergency management office, local American Red Cross chapter, state geological survey or department of natural resources. Information about earthquake risk is also available from the U.S. Geological Survey National Seismic Hazards project at: . Learn how to prepare for an earthquake by visiting

9/24 Tip Of The Day - Floods - even shallow water can be deadly

Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters in terms of human hardship and economic loss. As much as 90 percent of the damage related to all natural disasters (excluding drought) is caused by floods and associated debris flow.

Regardless of how a flood occurs, the rule for being safe is simple: Head for higher ground and stay away from floodwater. Even a shallow depth of fast-moving floodwater produces more force than most people think. To learn how to prepare for a flood, visit To find out if you live in a floodplain and to learn information about flood insurance, visit .

9/25 Tip Of The Day - Chemical hazards

When there is concern about potential exposure to a chemical or other airborne hazard, local officials may advise you to "shelter-in-place" and "seal the room." If you believe the air may be badly contaminated or if you are instructed by local officials, follow the instructions below to create a temporary barrier between you and the contaminated air outside.

To shelter-in-place and seal the room:

Close and lock all windows and exterior doors.

Turn off all fans, heating and air conditioning systems.

Close the fireplace damper.

Get your disaster supplies kit and turn on your battery-powered radio.

Go to an interior room that is above ground level and without windows, if possible. In the case of a chemical threat, an above-ground location is preferable because some chemicals are heavier than air and may seep into basements even if the windows are closed

If directed by local authorities on the radio, use duct tape to seal all cracks around the door and any vents into the room. Tape plastic sheeting, such as heavy-duty plastic garbage bags, over any windows.

Listen to your radio or television for further instructions. Local officials will tell you when you can leave the room in which you are sheltering, or they may call for evacuation in specific areas at greatest risk in your community.

9/26 Tip Of The Day - Be a survivor

Businesses can be greatly affected by disasters and many will have a hard time reopening and getting back on their feet. Don't let this happen to you!

Plan to stay in business.

Talk to your employees.

Protect your investment.

For more information about business preparedness, please visit

9/27 Tip Of The Day - Explosions and fire (to large for website use go to and

If there is an explosion do the following:

Take shelter against your desk or a sturdy table.

Exit the building immediately.

Do not use elevators.

Check for fire and other hazards.

Take your emergency supply kit if time allows.

If there is a fire do the following:

Exit the building immediately.

If there is smoke, crawl under the smoke to the nearest exit and use a cloth, if possible, to cover your nose and mouth.

Use the back of your hand to feel the upper, lower, and middle parts of closed doors.

If the door is not hot, brace yourself against it and open slowly.

If the door is hot, do not open it. Look for another way out.

Do not use elevators.

If your clothes catch on fire, stop, drop and roll to put out the fire. Do not run.

If you are at home, go to your previously designated outside meeting place.

Account for your family members and carefully supervise small children.

GET OUT and STAY OUT. Never go back into a burning building. Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number.

9/28 Tip Of The Day - Older Americans and individuals with disabilities or special needs

If there is an older individual or someone with a disability or special needs in your home, be sure to account for their needs. These may include medication, eye glasses, oxygen and wheelchairs. Be sure to keep extra batteries for items such as hearing aids. Keep a copy of any medical documents you may need in your supply kit. Make sure your emergency plan accommodates special needs in events such as evacuations and shelter-in-place. Vist

Also see

9/29 Tip Of The Day - Local alerts

Many local emergency management officials deliver important emergency alerts, notifications and updates during a major crisis or emergency via an e-mail/text-message alert system. Contact your local Office of Emergency Management to see if they use an alert system.

9/30 Tip Of The Day - Get involved

Citizen Corps works hard to help people prepare, train and volunteer in their communities. They provide a variety of opportunities for you to get involved. Citizen Corps programs build on the successful efforts that are in place in many communities around the country to prevent crime and respond to emergencies. Contact your local council by going to