General Safety Planning

Family Safety Composite
General Safety Precautions
Citizens may encounter a natural or man-made crisis:
  • while at home
  • during work hours
  • en route to work or school
  • while traveling abroad
The following are tips to remember if ever faced with an emergency situation, regardless of where you are.

Preparedness Kits
Have a preparedness kit in your car, at home and at your work site. Include:
  • Bottled water/potable water (at home it is recommended to store one gallon of water per person per day of sheltering)
  • Non-perishable food items
  • Fire extinguisher
  • A blanket
  • First-aid supplies
  • Small flashlight/extra batteries
  • Emergency contact list
  • Basic tool kit
  • Cell phone/battery-powered cell phone charger
  • NOAA battery-powered radio; extra batteries
Have a family emergency plan and review your home/office layout; pre-determine where exits are located and where to go during a crisis. View and download an emergency plan template (PDF).

Note any special needs for yourself, your family, your pets and your neighbors; discuss how to work as teams to keep each other safe.

Have a family communication plan. Designate a point of contact outside of your vicinity to serve as a "check-in" resource should your family become separated during a crisis. Create and distribute lists of contact numbers to your family members; keep on-hand (at home, in the office, and in vehicles) lists of important phone numbers (schools, medical services, utility service providers, financial institutions, etc.). View a communication plan template (PDF).

Storing Other Essential Items

In case of an emergency, keep the following items readily available:
  • special dietary supplies
  • personal hygiene items
  • prescriptions/medical equipment
  • extra eye glasses; extra keys
  • baby-care supplies
  • pet care supplies
  • several changes of clothing; gloves and durable shoes
  • cash
  • copies of important documents
  • sanitation supplies; garbage bags, cleansers, bleach
  • disposable cups, plates, and eating utensils
  • notebook and writing implement
  • digital or disposable camera (for documenting any damage)
  • books, games or puzzles for children
  • adequate fuel for generators
Sheltering in Place
"Sheltering in Place" means determining the most secure location in your home or respective building for keeping safe, if required to stay indoors during an emergency situation (examples: basement or inner hallway during a tornado warning; inner room with no windows in case of a hazardous materials crisis, etc.). Citizens should be prepared to access and use stored emergency supplies from this location for any length of time. Depending on scope of the crisis, an emergency situation can last only minutes or may extend to hours, days, or even weeks. Visit the Preparedness360 organization's "sheltering in place" checklists.
Safety Tips at Work
  • Keep an emergency kit and communication plan at your work station should a crisis arise during work hours.
  • Review safety plans for your office or building.
  • Discuss and practice fire and severe weather drills with co-workers throughout the year; identify any concerns or special needs.
  • If you work in a public location, be aware of others who are visiting your building or work area. Be prepared to lead others to safety should a crisis arise.
Exit sign
Safety Tips When Traveling
  • Plan travel routes in advance and identify any possible concerns or hazards.
  • Make note of your surroundings as well as the physical addresses of the locations you are visiting. Be aware that this information will be vital to receiving emergency aid quickly, especially if calling 911 from a cell phone.
  • Ensure your emergency kit and emergency contact lists are up-to-date and have adequate supplies.
  • Research what medical and emergency services are available in the area to which you are traveling; obtain contact information for those agencies.
  • Identify what law enforcement services are available and how to contact officials in that area; check to see if there are any advisories in effect for the area you are visiting.
  • Call ahead to see what pharmacies are available, coordinate with your physician in advance to have prescriptions filled prior to departing; work out a plan in advance if essential medications must be obtained en-route.
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times; determine exits and sheltering areas for each location you visit. Discuss with your family where you would go and what you would do in case of fire, severe weather or other crisis scenarios.
  • Keep cell phones charged at all times; keep gas tanks full of fuel.
  • Keep your personal items secure and avoid traveling with valuables. If necessary to travel with valuable items, plan how to safely store and secure them throughout the duration of your trip. Check with respective hotels/motels to determine what security practices they have in place.
  • Park in well-lit areas; lock vehicles. Do not leave valuable personal items in your vehicle. Put away maps, brochures or other items that might indicate to thieves that you are traveling through the area.