UW Emergency Management

Make a plan

Prepare yourself and your family

Create your disaster plan

Disaster planning is everyone’s responsibility. You and your family may be separated when a disaster strikes so it is important to put a plan in place ahead of time. How will you get to a safe place? How will you communicate with each other? How will you get back together? Consider the impacts and types of disruption caused by a disaster. The power may be out, water lines or gas lines may break, stores my be inaccessible or out of supplies and roadways maybe impassable. Begin planning today to reduce the impacts of these types of disruptions to you and your family.

Establish an out of area contact

Being separated from your loved ones when a disaster strikes can cause panic and fear in wondering how and where they are. Ask an out-of-area (at least 100 miles away) friend or relative to be your contact person. After a disaster, it can be much easier to reach someone out-of-area not impacted by the same disaster. Cell phones may not be able to make calls, however the text message capabilities often work as it doesn’t take up as much time on the system. Out-of-area wallet contact card.

Identify a safe place in each room

Identify a safe place in each room of your home and practice rapidly getting there. Best locations include under a sturdy desk or table, or beside a sturdy, large piece of furniture such as a sofa or bed. Avoid doorways; doors will bang open and shut in a large earthquake.

Practice home-evacuation drills

Practice home-evacuation drills. Choose someplace nearby for your family to meet. Expect a lack of transportation.

Educate your children

Get a copy of your school district’s disaster policy regarding transportation and the release of students. Keep photos of family members in your wallet in case someone is missing.

Medical preparedness

Take a first-aid course. Learn CPR.

Know where the nearest police and fire station are located

This includes knowing the route to the nearest hospital emergency room. Keep critical phone numbers and your insurance policy numbers by your phone and in your wallet.

Enter your ICE (In Case of Emergency) numbers on your cell phone

This will tell emergency workers who to contact if you’re hurt. For example, enter “ICE husband John” and the phone number.

Meet your neighbors

Find out whether they have medical or other expertise. Plan to unite if your neighborhood becomes isolated. Help elderly, disabled or single-parent neighbors create an emergency plan. The City of Seattle has created the Seattle Neighborhoods Actively Prepare SNAP program to help neighborhoods get organized. The state of Washington created Map Your Neighborhood MYN program that guides you and your neighbors through simple steps to help enhance your preparedness for an emergency.

Additional resources

Resources for children

Resources for pet preparedness