Make a Plan

Protect your family, and plan ahead before disaster strikes

Note: Print This Page and Write Your Plan!


Having an emergency plan for your family, and practicing it, will be the most important action you can take now. Teach your family how to communicate in an emergency, how to find each other following a disaster, how to shelter-in-place or evacuate, and how to survive following a disaster.

Action Steps

Communication Plan

  • Designate an out-of-area contact person that everyone in your family will call in case of emergency, so they can track who checks in, where they are, and whether or not they are safe.
  • Provide all family members with an up-to-date emergency contact list they can keep in a purse or wallet at all times.

Evacuation Plan

  • Select a safe place outside of your home to meet your family or housemates after an earthquake or other disaster.
  • Determine where you might need to go if your home cannot be occupied after an earthquake or other disaster.
  • Review your child's school or daycare policy for handling emergencies.
  • Identify who may need special attention (children, elderly or disabled) and any special requirements, if an evacuation is necessary.
  • Be familiar with evacuation routes near your neighborhood, school or daycare, and workplace.

Shelter-in-Place Plan

  • Prepare your household by identifying potential safety hazards and fixing them.
  • Stock emergency supplies for all family members and pets in your home, plus basic kits to keep in your car and office. See Pack a Kit page for lists of essential supplies to have on hand in your home, car, and workplace.
  • Talk with your neighbors to identify who has skills, resources, and equipment that will be useful in an emergency and following a disaster.
  • Learn more and get involved in the Community Emergency Response Team or Citizen Corps volunteer program in your area.
  • Identify who may need special attention (children, elderly or disabled) and their special requirements, if shelter-in-place is necessary.

Useful Links