Natural Disaster Preparedness Checklist
Before a Natural Disaster
To prepare for different types of natural disasters, you should take the following measures:
- To begin preparing for any natural disaster, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
- Sign up to receive local weather warnings through texts or email.
- Know your surroundings.
- Identify levees and dams in your area and determine whether they pose a hazard to you.
- Learn community evacuation routes. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.
- Make plans to secure your property.
- Have storm shutters installed on your home’s windows.
- Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed so they are more wind resistant. Remove any dead or diseased trees from your property completely.
- Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
- Determine how and where to secure your boat.
- Install a generator for emergencies, and keep a supply of gasoline.
- Know where your home’s gas shut off valve and water shut off valves are and how to turn them off in case of a leak.
- Purchase a carbon monoxide detector if you ever use gas run appliances in your home. Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, but deadly.
- Bring pets and animals inside with you.
- Install smoke detectors and change the batteries every month.
Tornado Preparation Tips
Along with the above general preparation tips, you should use these tips to prepare for tornadoes:
- Designate a safe room in your home that’s low to the ground. If you can’t get low to the ground, you should go to an interior hallway or a room with no windows where you can wait out the storm in a corner.
- Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
- Have a roof contractor inspect your roof and gutters to make sure they are attached properly and securely.
- Have the walls and ceiling joists in your safe room reinforced.
- Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
Snow Storm Preparation Tips
Along with the general tips above, you can use these tips to prepare for snow storms:
- Insulate walls and attic, caulk and weather strip doors and windows, and install storm shutters. These steps will keep much of the cold out.
- Insulate pipes and allow faucets to drip a little to avoid freezing pipes.
- Gather plenty of blankets and heating fuel (like wood for your fireplace) to keep you warm.
- Have shovels and rock salt on hand.
- Have chimneys and other heating equipment inspected every year to keep them maintained.
Flood Preparation Tips
Along with the general tips above, you can use these tips to prepare for floods:
- Learn the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood-prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected when storm surge or tidal flooding are forecasted.
- If in a flood zone, consider renting a storage unit on higher ground to keep valuables protected.
- Turn off the main disconnect circuit breaker in your home to shut off electrical power when there are downed power lines or standing water.
- If there is a flood warning buy sandbags to create a protective barrier to divert water flow.
- Install back flow valves or plugs to prevent floodwaters from entering plumbing.
Earthquake Preparation Tips
Along with the general tips above, you can use these tips to prepare for earthquakes:
- Make your home sturdier by bolting bookcases to wall studs, installing latches onto your cabinets, and anchor large appliances to studs as well.
- Identify multiple spots in your home where you could go for shelter from falling items. Doorways and underneath desks or tables are popular choices.
- If you’re outside move into an open area away from buildings, power lines, and trees.
- Be prepared for aftershocks, these can occur hours after the main shock.
- Check for structural defects and repair any cracks to your home’s foundation or ceiling.
- Install an automatic gas shut-off valve that’s triggered by strong vibrations.
Basic Disaster Supplies Kit
A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Tablets to purify water if needed
- A three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Blankets and raincoats
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
- LED flashlight, flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener for food
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
Advanced Disaster Supplies Kit
Once you have gathered the supplies for a Basic Emergency Kit, you may want to consider adding the following items:
- Prescription medications and glasses
- Infant formula and diapers
- Pet food, carrier cages and extra water for your pet
- Cash or traveler’s checks and change
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container. You can use theEmergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) (PDF – 977Kb) developed by Operation Hope, FEMA and Citizen Corps to help you organize your information.
- Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or free information from this web site.
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
- Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted, nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
- Fire extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
- Paper and pencil
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children