Get Ready, Take Action & Recover

See page info in Spanish [PDF]. See page info in Russian [PDF]. See page info in Vietnamese [PDF].

Emergency events in our county can range from natural events (e.g., wildfires, tornadoes, flooding, severe weather, windstorms, disease outbreaks, etc.) to man-made events (e.g., terrorism, cyber-attacks, active shooter, etc.) to facility/technology failure (e.g., power outage, structure damage, water/sewage failures, communication outage, etc.). Now is a good time to get ready for whatever might happen.

Get Ready: What to Do Before an Emergency

  1. Make a family plan
  2. Have an evacuation plan
  3. Sign up for emergency notifications
  4. Know your neighbors
  5. Make a shelter in place kit
  6. Pack a go bag
  7. Know how to get in contact with loved ones

Talk to all family members, including the little ones. You and your family might not be together during a disaster. Confirm all family members agree on an emergency plan. Give emergency information to babysitters or other caregivers that may come into your home. Verify family members know all the possible ways to get out of your home and keep all exits clear, just in case a night time evacuation is needed. Conduct your family plan drill every six months.

  • Visit the pages to learn how to make a plan [external link].
  • Learn first aid and CPR. Have a first aid kit, first aid manual and extra medicine for family members.
  • Identify an Out-of-Area Contact [external link]Choose a person outside the immediate area for family members to contact in case you get separated. This person should live far enough away so he or she won't be involved in the same emergency. Collect contact information of everyone in the family and make sure everyone knows where and how to reconnect during a disaster. Prepare wallet cards with the contact’s information [PDF].
  • Decide on a Family Meeting Place: Choose a place for your family to meet after a disaster. Make sure this is a place your children can get to if they aren’t with you.
  • Family Communication: Know how to contact your children at their school or daycare, and how to pick them up after a disaster. Let the school know if someone else is authorized to pick them up. Keep your child's emergency release card up to date.
  • Public Information and Warning: Learn your community's warning signals, what they sound like and what you should do when you hear them. Teach your children about these warning signals and quiz them regularly.
  • Financial Preparedness: Disasters of any kind can cause devastating financial losses.  Consider the cost of an unplanned evacuation, or rebuilding a home after a flood or fire. If your home is an income property, you could lose an entire stream of income within hours.
    • Examine your insurance policies as your homeowner’s insurance may not cover disaster damage, such as hail damage, tornado, flood or snow damage. Depending on where you live you may need to get additional coverage.
    • Boost your emergency savings because when a disaster hits you could be out of work and your home for a long period of time. That's why financial advisors recommend maintaining an emergency fund of at least three to six months' worth of living expenses.
    • Compile valuable documents that you may need to access if your home in destroyed. This includes insurance policies, passports, credit card numbers and bank account numbers.
    • Know your home. Knowing how to turn off the utilities before evacuating can help minimize damage.

Take Action: When an Emergency Occurs

  • Keep calm and take time to think. Give assistance where needed.
  • Monitor Twitter, local news broadcasts, and listen to your radio for official information and instructions.
  • Use the telephone for emergency calls only.
  • If you are ordered to evacuate, take your emergency kit and follow official directions to a safe place or temporary shelter.

Recovery: After an Emergency

  • Use caution in entering damaged buildings and homes.
  • Stay away from damaged electrical wires and wet appliances.
  • Check food and water supplies for contamination.
  • Notify your relatives that you are safe. But don't tie up phone lines, they may be needed for emergency calls.
  • If the power goes out your refrigerated foods may spoil. When in doubt, throw it out. Food Safety During a Power Outage in English (PDF), in Spanish (PDF), in Russian (PDF), in Vietnamese (PDF).