Most communities are not subject to only one type of emergency, but instead may be impacted by several types of hazards. Americans also travel to areas impacted by hazards they may not be at risk of near their homes. Knowing what to do before, during, and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count.
Some of the basic protective actions are similar for multiple hazards. For example, safety is necessary when experiencing all hazards, and whether this means sheltering or evacuating depends on the specific emergency. Developing a family communications plan or making an emergency supply kit are the same for accidental emergencies, natural disasters, and acts of terrorism. However, there are important differences among potential emergencies that should impact the decisions you make and the actions you take.
Explore the subsections of the “Be Informed” menu on this page to learn about the potential emergencies where you live, and the appropriate ways to respond to them. When you know what to do, you can plan with your household and prepare in advance to be ready. These subsections also provide information about how protect your household and begin recovery following the initial disaster.
Before a disaster, learn how to be informed of an impending hazardous event. Familiarize yourself with the signs of events that come without warning and know the local advance alerts and warnings and how you will receive them. Knowing about the local emergency plans for shelter and evacuation, and having local emergency contact information, will help you develop your household plan and will also aid you during a crisis.
Learning what to do in different situations and developing and customizing your plans for your local hazards, and knowing the specific needs of household members including animals will help you reduce the impact of disasters and may save lives and prevent injuries.