You know what you’re doing this weekend. You know what you’re doing for Thanksgiving. But in the event of an emergency, do you know what your plan is?

Don’t panic. It’s not too late. Unless the storm warnings have already been issued and you found this article because you just searched the Internet for “What to do in an emergency”. Then you better start reading. Fast.

Here are some quick tips to get you on your way to being proactive vs. reactive.

1. Understand how to receive emergency alerts and warnings.  Make sure all household members are able to get alerts about an emergency from local officials. Check with your local emergency management agency to see what is available in your area, and learn more about alerts by visiting:

2. Discuss family/household plans for disasters that may affect your area and plan where to go. Plan together in advance so that everyone in the household understands where to go during a different type of disaster like a hurricane, tornado, or wildfire.

3. Collect information. Create a paper copy of the contact information for your family that includes:

  • phone (work, cell, office)
  • email
  • social media
  • medical facilities, doctors, service providers
  • school

4. Identify information and pick an emergency meeting place. Things to consider:

  • Decide on safe, familiar places where your family can go for protection or to reunite.
  • Make sure these locations are accessible for household members with disabilities or access and functional needs.
  • If you have pets or service animals, think about animal-friendly locations.

Examples of meeting places:

  • In your neighborhood: A mailbox at the end of the driveway, or a neighbor’s house.
  • Outside of your neighborhood: library, community center, place of worship, or family friend’s home.
  • Outside of your town or city: home of a relative or family friend. Make sure everyone knows the address of the meeting place and discuss ways you would get there.

5. Share information. Make sure everyone carries a copy in his or her backpack, purse, or wallet. You should also post a copy in a central location in your home, such as your refrigerator or family bulletin board.

6. Practice your plan. Have regular household meetings to review your emergency plans, communication plans and meeting place after a disaster, and then practice, just like you would a fire drill.

Too much to remember? Take it with you! Check out these downloadable action plan templates made available by

For Parents

For Parents


For Kids

For Kids


For Your Wallet

For Your Wallet


Steps to Make A Plan

Steps to Make A Plan


Learn even more about emergency preparedness this month and be proactive vs. reactive with your family’s plan of action.




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