Experts Encourage Families to have a Plan for When Disaster Strikes

By on September 14, 2020

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has designated September as National Preparedness Month to promote the importance of family and community disaster planning. As our community recovers from the El Dorado fire, there is no better time to become prepared for all types of disasters.

James Joseph, spokesperson for FEMA, said having a disaster preparedness plan in place is a top priority. “Don’t be overwhelmed by the thought of building a preparedness plan,” he said. FEMA provides easy to use disaster planning guides that families can follow.

Here are some tips to be better prepared:

Make a Plan
A great way to get started is to make a plan!  Talk to your friends and family about how you will communicate before, during, and after a disaster.  Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find. Keep a handy list of phone numbers within reach.

Download and fill out a family emergency plan or use it as a guide to create your own. A sample can be found at Emergency Plan for Parents (PDF)

Build a Kit
Gather supplies that will last for several days after a disaster for everyone living in your home.  Don’t forget to consider the unique needs each person or pet may have in case you have to evacuate quickly.

Store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag. A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

  • Water (one gallon per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation)
  • Food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food)
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle (to signal for help)
  • Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
  • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
  • Manual can opener (for food)
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
  • Download the Recommended Supplies List (PDF)

Prepare for Disasters
Limit the impacts that disasters have on you and your family.  Know the risk of disasters in your area and check your insurance coverage. Learn how to make your home stronger in the face of storms and other common hazards and act fast if you receive a local warning or alert.

Teach Your Family Members about Preparedness
Talk to your kids about preparing for emergencies and what to do in case you are separated. Reassure them by providing information about how they can get involved.

Practice your plan with your family/household.
For more information and tips, visit