A disaster or emergency that can directly affect your daily life can happen at any time, sometimes without warning. Thankfully, there are things you can do to be prepared, respond safely and help speed your recovery. These tips from the Red Cross can help you know what to do before, during and after a disaster or emergency.
How to Prepare Before a Disaster Occurs
Gather the information that will help you prepare for disasters and emergencies:
Understand how your medical, physical and cognitive needs may affect your ability to respond to a disaster or emergency. For more information on kit considerations by ability, go to ready.gov/disability.
Think About How You Would Respond: Consider needs you may have if the power went out, you had to stay home for two weeks or more, or if you had to evacuate your home or community.
Talk about the help you may need and who could assist you.
Build Your Support Network
Identify Helpers: Include family, friends, neighbors, caregivers and care providers to build your network of people who may be able to assist you or that you can assist.
Meet with your helpers to assess your needs and plan together.
Plan how you’ll communicate with helpers.
Practical Steps to Take Now to be Prepared for Disaster
Review, practice and refresh your plan, supplies and important documents (now and every six months):
Develop Your Plan
Plan to Stay or Go: Plan to stay home for at least two weeks or evacuate.
Help to Evacuate: If you need help evacuating, plan who will help you. Find out if there are local registries and sign up.
Power Needs: If you require power to operate medical devices or keep medicines cold, make a back-up plan.
Fire Safety: Identify two ways out of every room to escape a home fire and plan for the help you may need.
Property or Renter’s Insurance: Make sure you have a policy that meets your property and disaster coverage needs.To learn how to mitigate risks in your home by hazard, download this resource produced by Save the Children and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Create a Communication Plan
Make an emergency contact list and plan how you’ll reach your support group and important emergency contacts when communications may be disrupted.