Seven Tips to Prepare for a Disaster

  1. Sign up for alerts, warnings and apps +

    When emergencies strike, public safety officials use timely and reliable systems to alert you. Additionally, there are apps for you to download to further assist you.

    Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are short emergency alerts authorities can send to any WEA-enabled mobile device in a locally targeted area.

    The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a national public warning system that allows the president to address the nation within 10 minutes during a national emergency. Other authorized authorities may also use the system to deliver important emergency information such as weather information, imminent threats, AMBER alerts, and local incident information targeted to specific areas.

    NOAA Weather Radio is a nationwide network of radio stations that broadcast continuous weather information from the nearest National Weather Service office based on your physical location.

    Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) is FEMA's national system for local alerting. It gives public agencies the ability to send WASs, EAS alerts, weather and non-weather related emergency messages simultaneously through NOAA weather radios, and alerts through systems like sirens and digital billboards.

    FEMA's Mobile App allows you to receive real-time weather and emergency alerts, send notifications to loved ones, locate emergency shelters in your area, get preparedness strategies and more. You can also sign up for FEMA text messages to get updates from FEM. The FEMA app is available on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

    The American Red Cross First Aid app contains step-by-step instructions for over 20 kinds of injuries with additional vides and the option to call 911 directly from the app. In the event of a real emergency, turning on location settings will enable to app to find your nearest hospitals.

    American Red Cross Hurricane app allows you to monitor specific zip codes for hurricane, tornado, flood and other warnings. Family members can be added allowing you to keep an eye on loved ones living far away.

  2. Make a plan

    Make a plan. Today. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your areas. Know how you'll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting pace that's familiar and easy to find.

    Step 1 - put a plan together by discussing the questions below with your family, friends, or household to start developing your plan.

    • How will I receive alerts and warnings?
    • What is my shelter pan?
    • What is my evacuation route?
    • What is my family/household communication plan?
    • Do I need to update my emergency kit?

    Step 2 - Consider specific needs in your family/household. As you prepare your plan, tailor your plans and supplies to your specific needs and responsibilities - don't forget to consider the specific needs to young children, elderly adults and pets. Step 3 - Create a Family Emergency Plan. Visit to access a fillable plan that you can print. Please note that the information is not saved or shared with the government.

  3. Test the plan

    Test and practice your plans(s) with your family/household. Identify those areas which cause confusion or do not work as expected.

  4. Make an emergency kit

    After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water, and other supplies - a good rule of thumb is to plan to be without assistance for up to three days. The kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of emergency. Visit for a list of items as well as a printable list to take to the store.

  5. Document and insure your property +

    Before a disaster strikes, it is important make sure your property and valuables are insured and to document their current state with photographs. Safeguard your policy information.

  6. Safeguard documents and valuables +

    Take care in ensuring that important documents like birth certificates, social security cards, passports, health insurance cards, medical records and disabilities documentation. Consider also insurance policies and estate planning documents such as wills, trusts and power of attorney.

  7. Get tech-ready

    Technology has made it easier than ever to get prepared for emergencies, but it can be unreliable in an emergency situation if you haven't kept your gadgets protected and powered up. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

    • Text messages require less bandwidth - meaning that they are able to be transmitted more reliably during situations when many people are trying to use their mobile phones at the same time.
    • Social media channels can also be used as a way to update family and friends. Facebook's Safety Check feature allows users to easily post a status update that they are safe during a time of disaster.
    • Have an emergency charging option for your phone and other mobile devices.
    • Store important documents on a secure, password protected jump drive or in the cloud.