Emergency preparedness is not solely the concern of Californians for earthquakes, of Gulf Coast residents for hurricanes, or of those who live in "Tornado Alley". Most communities may be impacted by several types of hazards during a lifetime. Americans also travel to areas impacted by hazards they may not be at risk of near their homes. Knowing what to do before, during, and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared, and may make all the difference when seconds count.
Some of the basic protective actions are similar for multiple hazards. For example, safety is necessary when experiencing all hazards, whether this means sheltering or evacuating depends on the specific emergency. Developing a family communications plan or making an emergency supply kit are the same for accidental emergencies, natural disasters and also terrorism. However, there are important differences among potential emergencies that should impact the decisions you make and the actions you take.
Use the links on this page to learn about the potential emergencies that can happen where you live and the appropriate ways to respond to them. When you know what to do, you can plan with your household and prepare in advance to be ready. These links also provide information about how protect your household and begin recovery following the initial disaster.
Before a disaster, learn how you will know there is an impending hazardous event. Familiarize yourself with the signs of events that come without warning and know the local advance alerts and warnings and how you will receive them. Knowing about the local emergency plans for shelter and evacuation and local emergency contacts will help you develop your household plan and will also aid you during a crisis.
Learning what to do in different situations and developing and customizing your plans for your local hazards, the locations frequented by members of your household and the specific needs of household members including animals will help you reduce the impact of disasters and may save lives and prevent injuries.