Surviving a Disaster - for Individuals and Families


Home and Family Disaster Preparedness

Help your family be safe and ready to respond quickly if a disaster hits your home or community.

Hopefully you have read the section on preparedness. However there are some things you should be aware of during a disaster. It’s all about safety. Things can be replaced. People cannot. This website should not be the place you go to if a serious storm is heading your way; however, if you read this ahead of time, you may have some insight into taking care of yourself and your family.

Top six things to think about:

  1. If you have to evacuate please let people know who are not in the evacuation zone.  That means if you have out-of-town relatives or friends please let them know where you’re going.  They will be worried about you.
  2. If you have to evacuate, one never knows where the storms can eventually go.  It is wise to book hotels in three different areas so that you have some possibilities which means a safe place if the storm is approaching.
  3. You should know by now that it’s important to have a Go Kit. A Go Kit should include water, food, important papers, medicine, and cash.  If you happen to leave late the ATMs may not be working. (See more on Go Kits below.)
  4. If you are uncertain about whether or not you should evacuate, when in doubt be conservative.  It’s always better to head out of town early then fighting the traffic at the last minute.
  5. People will want to contact you to make sure you’re safe, so it’s helpful to make sure that you have a telephone directory of people to call.
  6. If you have pets you need to think about what it may be like to be living with your pets not at home.  Since Katrina, shelters have become more open to having pets, but not all hotels take pets. You should be aware this.

These simple check lists will help you prepare emergency kits:

  • Stay Kit — if you need to shelter-in-place. You might be safe at home, but need to be prepared if the power is out, you can not get out or help can not get to you. Your Stay Kit can be kept in one place, such as a plastic bin or a box, or can be throughout your house, just so you know where everything is located.
  • Go Kit — if you need to leave on short notice. Keep everything in a backpack or bag/box you can grab quickly. Because some of the information is personal, be sure you know where the kit is, but do not leave it where non-family members can see it.
  • Car Kit — if you are in an area where evacuations are likely, keep some emergency supplies in your car. Contents of the Car Kit will depend on the season.

Keep in mind, these check lists are suggestions. Put what you need in the kits. For more information on family disaster supplies and kits, see the Red Cross and FEMA web sites. 

More kit information is available at:

Be Red Cross Ready

Make a Disaster Preparedness Plan

Be Prepared for an Emergency