Plan ahead for disasters

  • Gather and scan important documents including insurance policies, birth certificates, social security cards, credit and bank account information, vehicle registrations, wills and appraisals of valuables and keep a digital copy saved to the cloud or on a thumb drive to keep in your emergency kit.
  • Prepare a digital home inventory, take video or photos of each room
  • Prepare your finances. Set up online banking, have cash on hand
  • Appoint a person that lives away from your immediate area that can keep family and friends updated
  • Familiarize yourself with evacuation routes and shelters
  • Download the free Zello app for community updates and information
  • Fill vehicles with gas
  • Stock up with non-perishable foods
  • Prepare a list of emergency telephone numbers (police, sheriff, fire, hospitals, veterinarians, ASPCA, FEMA)
  • Six things to know before a disaster video


  • Turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest setting
  • Unplug appliances and electronics
  • Turn off air conditioner and propane tanks
  • Store food using the USDA Food Safety and Information Service (FSIS) guidelines
  • Bring in anything that can be moved by high winds (pots, outdoor furniture, bicycles, trash cans, etc)
  • Install hurricane shutters or board windows
  • If you plan to remain in home, purchase a generator, lanterns and NOAA weather radio
  • Identify the location of home’s water, gas and electric main shutoff valves and switches


  • Ask friends and family outside of your immediate area if they would be able to shelter you and your family, including pets, if necessary use a rolling suitcase for emergency kit so that you can easily take with you in case of evacuation
  • Make a Plan Checklist
  • Family Emergency Communication Plan Card
  • Family Emergency Plan Information
  • Family Emergency Plan in Various Languages
  • Family Emergency Kit


  • Gather and scan current photo of all pets, pet registration and immunization records
  • Familiarize yourself with local animal control, animal shelters, pet friendly hotels and emergency shelters that allow pets
  • Microchip pets and update registration information
  • Attach a weather resistant, smart pet tag with current contact information on all pets
  • Ensure you have pet medications with you in case of evacuation
  • Have a secure carrier for each pet and mark with pet identification and contact information
  • Pet Disaster Plan
  • Pet Disaster Preparedness


  • Assist the injured and provide first aid where appropriate
  • Be calm, patient and understanding during recovery process
  • Report loose or dangling power lines to the electric company, fire or police department
  • Open doors and windows to ventilate or dry your home
  • Check for gas leaks
  • Look for electrical system, sewage and water line damage
  • Check refrigerated foods for spoilage
  • Take photos of damage
  • Save receipts of lodging and food for reimbursement
  • Use bottled water or boil water until public announcement of water safety
  • Report damage to homeowner’s insurance and FEMA