Have a Meeting

Emergency Preparedness - Have a Meeting

Download the Family Disaster Plan and Personal Survival Guide (PDF).


Family Meetings: At least once a year, have a meeting with your family to discuss and upgrade your disaster plan and determine what training, equipment and supplies are needed. Occasional drills will assure quick reaction and avoid injury and panic in an emergency.


  • Learn how to protect yourself from falling objects, smoke, fire, caustic fumes, etc.
  • Learn First Aid/CPR
  • Know how and where to shut off utilities
  • Draw a floor plan of your home showing the location of exit doors and windows, utility shutoffs, First Aid Kit, emergency supplies, food, clothing, tools, etc. Be sure everyone in your household is familiar with it. Show it to babysitters and house guests when you're going away. They could use it to guide some one to a utility shutoff in an emergency
  • Alternate reunion locations when family is not at home, e.g. home, neighbors, relatives, park, school, etc.
  • Name and telephone number of person outside your local area for family members to call to report their location and condition
  • What is your children's school disaster policy? Will they keep your children until you're able to come and get them?
  • Where are emergency supplies and equipment located?

There are many different kinds of disasters, such as earthquakes, fires, floods, airplane crashes, chemical spills, pipeline leaks and explosions, which seldom give warning and can be equally devastating to their victims. This guide is primarily geared to earthquakes, but the planning you and your family does now will be of benefit for any type of disaster that can strike your community.

Before a Disaster

  • Inspect your home
  • Secure water heater and tall or heavy furniture to wall studs
  • Move heavy items to lower shelves
  • Install clips, latches and other locking devices on cabinet doors
  • Provide strong support and flexible connections on gas appliances
  • Remove or isolate and secure flammable materials

During an Earthquake

  • If you are indoors, stay there. Move away from windows, book cases, tall shelves. Get under a table or desk and hold on to it. Be prepared to move with it and hold that position until the shaking stops and it is safe to move. If there is no desk or table to get under, brace yourself in an interior corner. Watch for falling, flying and sliding objects.
    Note: If you are in a mobile home which is resting on A-Frame supports, get on top of the bed or sofa and cover your head and face. If a mobile home slips off the supports they may penetrate the flooring and cause injuries.
  • If you are outdoors, move to an open area away from buildings, trees, power poles, brick or block walls and other objects that could fall.
  • If you are in an automobile, stop and stay in it until the shaking stops. Avoid stopping near trees and power lines or on or under overpasses or bridges.
  • If you are in a high-rise building, get under a desk and hold on, or crouch next to an interior wall until the shaking stops. Do not use the elevator to evacuate. Use the stairs.
  • If you are in a store, get under a table or any sturdy object. Avoid stopping under anything that could fall. Do not run for the exit. Choose your exit carefully.

If you Evacuate

  • Prominently post a message indicating where you can be found and the date and time you left.
  • Take with you:
    • Flashlight, radio and batteries
    • Food, blankets and extra clothes
    • Important papers and cash
    • Make arrangements for pets
    • Medicines and first aid kit

After a Disaster

  • Put on heavy shoes immediately to avoid injury from stepping on glass
  • Check for injuries and give First Aid
  • Check for fires and fire hazards
    • Sniff for gas leaks, starting at the hot water heater. If you smell gas, hear a hissing sound or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open the windows and carefully leave the house. Do not turn lights on or off, or strike matches.
      Note: Do not shut off the gas unless you suspect a leak exists. Do not turn it back on until the gas company or a plumber has checked the system.
    • Shut off the water at the main valve.
    • Turn off the electrical system at the main circuit breaker or fuse box.
  • Check on your neighbors for injury.
  • Turn on your portable radio and listen for advisories. Locate a light source, like a flashlight, if necessary.
  • Do not touch downed power lines or objects touched by downed wires or stand in water near downed lines.
  • Clean up potentially harmful material.
  • Check house, roof, chimney for damage.
  • Check emergency supplies.
  • Do not use the phone except in emergencies.
  • Do not go sightseeing!
  • Be prepared for aftershocks.
  • Open closets and cupboards carefully.
  • Cooperate with public safety officials.
  • Be prepared to evacuate when/if necessary.

Home Emergency Supplies

This list contains items usually available in your home. It is recommended that they be organized and located for easy access during an emergency. Your emergency supplies should be sufficient to sustain you, your family and pets for a minimum of 72 hours. A two-week supply of medicines and prescription drugs is recommended.


  • Water - minimum of 1 gallon per person per day
  • First Aid Kit - ample and freshly stocked
  • First Aid book - Know how to use it
  • Food - canned or dehydrated, pre-cooked and/or requiring minimum heat or water. Consider the needs of infants and pets and any other special needs
  • Can opener - non-electric
  • Blankets or sleeping bags for each member of the family
  • Radio - portable, with spare batteries
  • Critical medications and glasses
  • Fire extinguisher - multipurpose dry chemical labeled "ABC"
  • Flashlight - spare batteries and bulb
  • Watch or clock - non-electric

Sanitation Supplies

  • Dentures
  • Deodorant
  • Feminine supplies
  • Hand soap and liquid detergent
  • Infant supplies
  • Large plastic trash bags - for waste sanitation and protection
  • Large trash cans
  • Newspapers to wrap garbage or waste
  • Powdered chlorinated lime - add to sewage to deodorize, disinfect and reduce insects
  • Pre-moistened towelettes
  • Shampoo
  • Toilet paper and paper towels
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush


  • Heavy shoes for each family member
  • Heavy gloves for each adult
  • Candles and waterproof matches (never light or strike a match near possible gas sources)
  • Clothes - complete change for each family member
  • Knife or razor blades
  • Garden hose - for siphoning and fire fighting


  • Barbecue or gas grill; charcoal and lighter or propane (for outdoor use only); Sterno stove
  • Plastic bags - various sizes, sealable
  • Pots (cooking) - at least two
  • Paper plates, plastic utensils, paper towels

Car Survival Kit

  • Blanket
  • Bottled water
  • Critical medications
  • Fire extinguisher
  • First Aid kit
  • Flares
  • Flashlight with batteries
  • Non-perishable food
  • Pre-moistened towelettes and tissues
  • Sealable plastic bags
  • Tools and rubber hose

Water Tips

To purify drinking water use one of the following methods:

  • Boil for 5-10 minutes, or
  • Add eight drops of household bleach per gallon of clear water, mix well and let stand for 30 minutes, or
  • Add household tincture of iodine in the same manner as bleach, or
  • Use commercial purification tablets such as Halazone or Globaline following package directions.

Use 911 for life safety only.