Are you Ready?

More than 90% of Southern Californians know a big disaster is coming. Yet only 6% are prepared for it. Preparedness starts with you.
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Not able to say “I’m Ready” yet? Getting prepared may sound difficult or time consuming but – with a little help from the Red Cross – its actually very doable.

Get a Kit

The first step to preparedness is to build or purchase an emergency preparedness kit that includes items such as water, non-perishable food, a flashlight and extra batteries, a battery-powered radio, first aid kit and medications. It’s a good idea to have an easy-to-carry kit with supplies and, if possible, enough food, water and supplies for the whole family to sit tight for 14 days.


Click here to PURCHASE a Red Cross Preparedness Kit


Click here to DOWNLOAD a reparedness kit shopping list and build your own.


Make a Plan

The next step in preparedness is to talk with members of your household about what to do during emergencies. Plan what to do in case everyone is separated and choose two places to meet—one right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency such as a fire, and another outside your neighborhood, in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate.


Family Disaster Plan Template - English


Family Disaster Plan Template - Spanish


Be Informed

Once you have built your emergency kit and made a plan with your household, it’s important to know what to do in the event of different types of disasters. Here is basic information to keep you safe before, during and after the types of disasters you are most likely to encounter in Southern California.

+ Top Tips

  • Practice DROP, COVER and HOLD ON with all members of your household.
  • Doorways are no stronger than any other part of a structure so don’t rely on them for protection! During an earthquake, get under a sturdy piece of furniture, cover your head, and hold on.


+ Before

  • Be aware of evacuation plans for all buildings you regularly occupy.
  • Identify safe places in each room of your home, workplace, or school. A safe place could be under a piece of furniture or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases, or tall furniture that could fall on you.
  • Practice drop, cover, and hold on in each safe place.
  • Keep a flashlight and pair of sturdy shoes by each person’s bed.
  • Make sure your disaster kit is in an easy-to-access location.
  • Do a “hazard hunt” in your home. Find items that might fall during an earthquake and secure them. Look for fire hazards, like frayed wires and overloaded outlets, and make them safe.
  • Bolt and brace bookcases, cabinets, and overhead light fixtures.
  • Avoid hanging heavy items above beds and couches (pictures/mirrors).


+ During

  • Drop, cover and hold on. Drop to the floor, take cover under a piece of heavy furniture, and protect your head with one arm while holding on to furniture with the other arm.
  • If there is no sturdy furniture to get under, crouch with your back against an interior wall and cover your head and neck.
  • If you are in bed, stay in bed and cover your head and neck with your pillow.
  • If you are outdoors, move into an open area away from buildings and trees.
  • If you’re driving, calmly pull over to a clear area away from bridges and overpasses, and put the car in park.


+ After

  • Prepare for potential aftershocks, landslides, or tsunami.
  • Each time you feel an aftershock, drop, cover, and hold on.
  • Check yourself for injuries and get first aid if necessary before helping others.
  • Get updated emergency information and instructions by listening to local radio or TV stations or by accessing the Red Cross Emergency App.

+ Before

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, in every bedroom and sleeping area.
  • Test smoke alarms at least every six months.
  • Keep at least one fire extinguisher in your home.
  • Keep flammable items at least three feet away from the stove, space heaters, and fireplaces.
  • Turn off the stove if you are going to leave the kitchen, even if you are leaving for a short period.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Unplug kitchen appliances, such as toasters and blenders, if they are not in use.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
  • Know how to shut off your water, power, and gas. Do not turn off the gas unless you know a gas line has ruptured or you smell gas. Your local utility will have to turn it back on.
  • Don’t overload electrical outlets.
  • If you have bars on doors or windows, make sure they have internal quick-release devices.
  • Talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.


+ During

  • If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL FOR HELP. Never go back inside for anything or anyone.
  • If you live in a building with elevators, use the stairs.  Never open doors that are warm to the touch.
  • If you must escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your exit.
  • If smoke, heat or flames block your exit routes, stay in the room with doors closed.  Open a window and wave a brightly colored cloth or flashlight to signal for help.


+ After

  • Once you are outside, go to your meeting place or follow your family emergency communication plan.
  • Stay out of fire-damaged homes until local fire authorities say it is safe to re-enter.
  • People and animals that are severely injured or burned should be seen by professional medical or veterinary help immediately.
  • Do not drink water that you think may be contaminated.
  • Discard food that has been exposed to smoke or dust.

+ Top Tips

  • Don’t wait. Evacuate.


+ Before

  • Keep a “safe zone” of 30 feet around your home, with no dry vegetation or flammable items like propane or firewood.
  • Select building materials and plants that resist fire.
  • Keep your roof and gutters clean.
  • Check your emergency kit and replenish any items missing or in short supply, especially medications or medical supplies.
  • Keep insurance policies, documents, and other valuables in a safe-deposit box. You may need quick, easy access to these documents.
  • Identify and maintain an adequate water source outside your home, such as a small pond, cistern, well, or swimming pool.
  • Set aside household items that you can use as fire tools before emergency responders arrive: a rake, ax, hand saw or chain saw, bucket and shovel.
  • Make sure driveway entrances and your house number or address are clearly marked so fire vehicles can get to your home.


+ During

  • Listen to local radio and TV stations or access the Red Cross Emergency App for the latest wildfire information and be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
  • Evacuate immediately if evacuation is instructed or if you think the wildfire is close.
  • Close all home openings to limit exposure to smoke and dust.
  • Move outside furniture and plants indoors.
  • If you are trapped outdoors, crouch in a pond, river or pool.
  • Do not put wet clothing or bandanas over your mouth or nose. Moist air causes more damage to airways than dry air at the same temperature.


+ After

  • Do not return until officials declare the area safe.
  • Use caution when entering burned areas, as hot spots may still exist and can flare up without warning.
  • Wet debris down to minimize breathing in dust.
  • Do not drink water that you think may be contaminated.
  • Discard food that has been exposed to smoke or dust.
  • If you are ordered or decide to evacuate, take your animals with you.
  • Stay away from the slide area after. There may be danger of additional slides.

Learn CPR

In an emergency situation, you will be the first person on the scene. Make sure at least one member of your family is fully trained to administer CPR and First Aid. In this short video, you can learn how to perform


Hands-Only CPR – so that you can help deliver life-saving care until professional responders arrive.



Download the Red Cross Emergency App

This FREE all-inclusive app lets you monitor more than 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts, provides expert advice on how to prepare and respond to disasters and includes a map to help you locate open Red Cross shelters.




Or text: "GETEMERGENCY" to 90999

Once you’ve completed these steps, we want you to tell your friends and family “I’m Ready.” Re-visit this page once you’ve completed steps 1-5 listed above and use the “I’m Ready” tool to access to exclusive ways to tell the world about your preparedness.