Emergency Plan Checklist

If a disaster hit your community today, would you know what to do? The best time to prepare for a disaster is before it occurs. Take some time with your family at home, and with your colleagues at the workplace, to go through this emergency plan checklist . . . before it's too late!

Know What to Prepare for in Your Area

  • Tornadoes
  • Fires and Wildfires
  • Floods
  • Hailstorms
  • Thunderstorms
  • Heat Waves and Drought
  • Winter Storms and Extreme Cold
  • Hazardous Material Disasters
  • Terrorism
  • Chemical, Biological, Radiological Attacks
  • Cyber Attacks

Be Aware of Emergency Plans and Resources in Your Area

  • Know how you will be warned of an emergency.
  • Know your community's evacuation routes and map them out.
  • Know if special assistance is available for elderly or disabled individuals in your community.

Include Everyone in Your Emergency Plan

  • Take time to meet with family members at home, and colleagues in the workplace, to talk about the dangers of fire, severe weather, tornadoes and other emergencies. Make sure everyone knows how to respond to each kind of disaster.
  • Pay particular attention to children, the disabled, and the elderly.

Plan Escape Routes

  • Identify safe spots in your home or workplace for each type of disaster.
  • Draw a floor plan of your home showing doors, windows and stairways. Mark the locations of first aid and disaster kits, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, ladders, and utility shut-off points. Use a colored pen to draw a broken line charting at least two escape routes from each room.
  • Practice emergency evacuation drills at least twice a year. Practice more frequently for the mentally disabled so that repetition can help them save themselves if necessary.

Plan Emergency Communication Procedures

  • Post emergency telephone numbers near telephones and make sure children know how and when to call 9-1-1.
  • Make sure that everyone knows that they should turn on the radio for emergency information.
  • Since it is easier to call out-of-state than within the affected area, pick one out-of-state person for family members and/or co-workers to call if separated during a disaster.
  • Pick two emergency meeting places in case you can't go home: (1) a place near your home; (2) a place outside the neighborhood.
  • Make sure children know about meeting places and emergency phone numbers in case you get separated during a crisis.
  • Put ICE before a name and number in cell phone address books so First Responders would know who to call "In Case of Emergency."
  • Make sure everyone knows how to send and receive photos and text messages if their cell phones have that capacity. Join Twitter or a local text message alert system to receive emergency broadcast warnings.
  • Get FRS walkie-talkies and make sure everyone knows how to use them.

Plan for a Duration

  • Prepare a Disaster Kit that can be stored in your safe spot and/or taken with you if you need to evacuate
  • Prepare a First Aid Kit that can be stored in your disaster kit.

Plan for Injuries

  • Take a basic first aid and CPR class and/or host these classes in your workplace.
  • Prepare a first aid kit.

Plan for Special Needs

    • Identify elderly and disabled individuals in your home or workplace who will need extra assistance in the event of an emergency.
    • Make sure you know about special aid that is available for elderly and disabled in your area in an emergency. If possible, register with your local fire department, 911 service, utility company, or community services agency so that help can be provided quickly if necessary.
    • Find out about emergency plans for your loved-ones' schools, day care centers and/or nursing homes.
    • If you have a personal care attendant from an agency, find out if the agency will provide services at a different location if there is an evacuation. Make sure everyone knows.
    • Plan for alternative safe places for disabled and elderly persons for each kind of disaster. For example, if the basement is not wheelchair accessible, plan for the next best safe spot.
    • Make sure the hearing and visually impaired have access to information in a media format that is accessible to them.

  • Provide training and constant reinforcement for the mentally impaired so they can learn steps to save themselves.
  • Make sure you have, and know how to start a back-up power supply for essential medical equipment.
  • Make sure two exits are wheelchair-accessible in case one exit is blocked.
  • If you have special needs:
    • Get a medical alert system that will allow you to call for help if you have trouble getting around.
    • Wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace at all times.
    • Carry identification at all times.
    • Have a list of medications and emergency contact numbers.
    • Know who to call when an emergency happens.
    • Visit with your doctor and make arrangements to keep a 60-90 day supply of medications and special medical parts and supplies on-hand in case of an emergency.
    • Set up a "Buddy" system with a roommate, trusted friend or neighbor. Give them a copy of your emergency plan and an extra house key, or knowledge of where they can find one.
    • Establish relationships with neighbors and caregivers.
    • Be prepared to remain independent for 24 hours.
    • Put a few personal items in a lightweight draw string bag (i.e. a whistle, some medications, a small flashlight, extra hearing aid batteries, etc) and tie to your wheelchair or walker for emergencies. Check and rotate the items so they are current and working.
  • Visit theNational Organization on Disability to learn more about Emergency Preparedness issues.

Plan for Pets

    • If you have to evacuate your home, DO NOT leave pets behind! Make sure you take a secure pet carrier, leash or harness with you.
    • Make a list of animal-friendly places and phone numbers that you can use in the event of an emergency, and call ahead for a reservation as soon as you think you might have to leave your home. Check with friends, relatives or others outside your immediate area and ask if they would be able to shelter you and your animals or just your animals, if necessary. If you have more than one pet, you may need to house them at separate locations. Contact hotels/motels outside your immediate area to check policies on accepting pets. Ask about any restrictions on number, size and species. Find out if the "no pet" policies would be waived in an emergency. Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinary offices that might be able to shelter animals in emergencies. As a last resort, ask your local animal shelter if it provides foster care or shelter for pets in an emergency.
    • Make sure identification tags are current and securely fastened to your pet's collar, or get a microchip implanted in your pet. Keep a current photo in your wallet or cell phone for identification purposes.
    • Identify a roommate, trusted neighbor or friend who is comfortable and familiar with your pets, and who knows your pets' whereabouts and habits so they would be able to find or catch your pet quickly if necessary. Give this person access to a key to your house or barn so that they can evacuate your pets if you are not able to.
    • Create a pet emergency/disaster kit and place it in a prominent place where your friend/neighbor can find it.
    • If the emergency involves evacuation, make sure your friend/neighbor would be willing to take your pets and has access to the appropriate carriers and leashes. Plan to meet at a prearranged location.

  • If there is an emergency and you are not evacuating, bring your pets indoors and keep them under your direct control with dogs on leashes and cats in carriers.

Plan for Livestock and Large Animals

  • Evacuate livestock whenever possible. Evacuation site should have food, water, veterinary care, handlers, equipment and proper facilities.
  • Trucks, trailers and vehicles for transporting animals should be available with experienced handlers and drivers to transport them.
  • If evacuation is not possible, a decision must be made whether to move large animals to available shelter or turn them outside in the pasture. Keep in mind that shelter may take away the animals' ability to protect themselves. Your decision should be based on the type of disaster and the soundness and location of the shelter or structure.
  • If you board animals, ask if the facility has an evacuation plan in place.
  • Make sure every animal has durable and visible identification.
  • Make sure that poultry have access to food and clean water, and high areas to perch on if they are in a flood-prone area.
  • Use native and deep-rooted plants and trees that are less likely to become dislodged by high winds or broken by ice and snow.
  • Reroute permanent fencing so that animals may move to high ground in a flood and to low-lying areas during high winds.
  • Since municipal water supplies and wells are often contaminated during a disaster, install a hand pump and obtain enough large containers to water your animals for at least a week.
  • Identify alternate water and power sources, generators and fuel supplies for electrical equipment that is necessary for the well being of your animals.
  • Secure or remove anything that could become blowing debris. Secure trailers, propane tanks and other large objects. If you have boats, feed troughs, or other large containers, fill them with water before any high wind event; this prevents them from blowing around and it also gives you an additional supply of water.
  • Provide local fire, rescue and emergency management authorities with information about the location of any hazardous materials on your property.
  • Remove old buried trash that may be a hazardous material leeching into crops, feed supplies, water sources and pasture during a flood.

Know How to Shut Off Main Utilities

  • Make sure everyone knows how to shut off water, gas and electricity at the main switches.
  • Plan for power outages with candles, back-up generators, alternate fuel sources, extra water, and so on.

Have Adequate Money and Insurance

  • Make sure you have enough insurance coverage for your area. For example, make sure you have flood insurance if you live in a flood-prone area.
  • Make an inventory of possessions, including photos and videos of the interior and exterior of your home. Include a copy of the inventory in your vital records and make sure your records are safe.

Make Sure Vital Records Safe

  • Create a Living Will and/or a Healthcare Power of Attorney.
  • Keep family records in a water- and fire-proof container. Keep another set of records in a safety deposit box.

Develop Safety Skills

  • Take a basic first aid and CPR class and/or host these classes in your workplace.


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