Family Preparedness

All family members should discuss what actions will be taken following an earthquake or other disaster, regardless of where they may be when the disaster occurs.

Family Disaster Plan

The Family Disaster Plan should be posted on the refrigerator, by the phone, or in some other conspicuous place. All family members should be familiar with it and should be prepared to take appropriate actions if they are at home alone when the disaster occurs. Consider the following issues when creating your family plan.


  • Establish a safe meeting place outside of the house where all family members will meet.
  • Identify all exits and alternate escape routes from your house or apartment and keep them clear.
  • Identify the nearest Red Cross-designated shelter to your home and workplace. Note: Limited medical assistance will be available at all shelters.
  • If you must evacuate your home:
    • Confine pets in basement, garage, or bathroom with plenty of water.
    • Post a message indicating where you have gone.
    • Take vital documents and emergency supplies and equipment, including medications with you.
  • Maintain one-half tank of gas in your car at all times and identify an evacuation route which is most likely to remain open and passable following an earthquake. (Avoid bridges, freeways, underpasses, and overpasses.)

Family Reunification

  • Designate an out-of-state or area contact for family members to notify of their location and condition.
  • Establish one or two reunion locations (i.e., Red Cross shelter, relative or friend's home) in the event of separation. 
    • Note: The Red Cross will compile a list of missing persons.


  • Create a Communication Plan (PDF).
  • Disaster information and emergency instructions will be announced on radio station KPRL 1230 AM.
  • Do not use the telephone, except for emergencies.
  • Identify nearest source of emergency two-way radio communication (i.e. amateur radio operator, fire or police department, hospital) for requesting emergency aid.
  • Inform friends and relatives of the phone number for your out-or-area contact person.

Children, Elderly & Disabled

  • Arrange for a neighbor or friend to check on elderly or disabled family members in your absence.
  • Authorize a neighbor or relative to pick-up and care for children in your absence.
  • Identify a method for evacuating disabled family members.
  • Provide the elderly or disabled with a whistle or other method to call for help.


Note: Pets will not be allowed in shelters

  • For evacuation: keep on a leash and pack supplies that include food, water bowl, blanket, and plastic bags for disposing of feces.
  • Keep license and I.D. tags current with your telephone number and your out-of -town contact number.
  • Make arrangements with neighbors to rescue or care for pet.
  • Plan how they will be cared for after evacuation. 
    • Pets, in contrast to service animals, may not be allowed in shelters due to health regulations.

School Plan

  • Authorize a relative, friend or neighbor to pick up your children in case you are unable to get to the school following a disaster.
  • Ensure that school authorities have made arrangements to provide for any special needs (i.e. medications) that your children may have.
  • Familiarize yourself with your children's school plan, including the release policy following disasters. 
    • Note: All schools conduct regular earthquake drills and most are prepared to shelter students until they are picked up by a parent or authorized representative.

Supply Checklist

Work Plan

  • Have a copy of your family's emergency Communication Plan (PDF) and contact telephone numbers in your vehicle.
  • Have maps or guides of alternate routes to get home from work in case your normal route is impassable.
  • Have portable supplies in your car or at work in case you cannot return home for several days.
  • Include a flashlight and a small portable radio in your work emergency supplies.
  • Store a pair of sturdy walking shoes in your vehicle.

Special Needs & Disabilities

  • Carry a health information card, if you have special needs.
  • Complete a Special Needs and Disabilities Information Worksheet (PDF).
  • Determine type of help you may need during an emergency.
  • Evaluate your capacities, limitations, needs, and surroundings.
  • Keep sufficient medication and supplies for at least 7 days on hand.
  • List information: doctors, allergies, medications, disabilities, equipment.