Catastrophes can happen at any time. Preparing to be self-sufficient for three days will keep you comfortable during major storms and power outages, and even small earthquakes. However, to make it through a major disaster like Hurricane Katrina or a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, you’ll need to be prepared to be on your own for at least seven days (probably longer).

So the questions you need to ask yourself are, “How will my family and I survive? Is our current plan and stored supplies sufficient for being on our own for more than just a few days? Do my loved ones know what to do, and who to contact, if we are separated during a crisis?”

A little pre-planning now, and taking steps to prepare, will put your mind at ease and help you and your family make it through any situation.


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Make a Plan

Discuss how you will respond, stay informed, and contact one another during different situations. Practice your plan at least annually. A family emergency plan should include:

  • A designated place to meet if you are separated - outside your home, or nearby.
  • Public safety phone numbers (i.e. police, fire, and hospital) for your area.
  • Alternate methods for communicating with each other if phone lines are down, such as texting. You should also identify an out-of-area contact to communicate you’re safe and learn the status of other family members.
  • Appropriate actions to take and trusted people that can help you.


Emergency Supply Kit

Assemble an emergency supply kit  for your home, workplace, and vehicle. It doesn't have to be difficult or expensive.

  • Start with the basics (i.e. water, non-perishable food, first aid and hygiene items, flashlight and extra batteries, blanket, and cash) that can fit in a backpack or other portable container.
  • Add to it as you are able, and consider unique supplies that pertain to different seasons.
  • Don’t forget the needs of your pet.


Diverse group of people

Know your neighbors and discuss how you might share resources during a disaster. People helping each other in a crisis can make a significant difference in how well, and how quickly, you recover. Ways you can get more involved include: