“Don’t Wait. Communicate.” How to Plan Before Emergency Strikes

By Samantha Kappalman

Are you prepared when the unexpected happens? Part of our personal wellness includes being prepared in the event of an emergency. As summer comes to a close and the kids are back in school, now is an ideal time to revisit or create your personal and/or family emergency plans.

The best time to put together an emergency plan and kit is before a disaster.

Why do I need a plan?

Knowing how you will respond to an emergency at home, school or work will help you remain calm and think more clearly during an emergency. It is important to plan ahead by talking about what you will do before, during and after an emergency. You and your family members may not be in the same place when an emergency happens, or you may live by yourself. Creating a shared understanding with your family and emergency contacts about who to contact and where to go can help you and your family when emergency strikes.

What should my plan include?

Your plan should include how you will get to a safe place, get in touch with and find each other during an emergency:

Being ready helps you and your family, but it also helps our first responders, fire fighters, police and emergency medical workers. Not sure where to start on your emergency plan? Use the Emergency Plan template on NCReady.org [3].

Building an Emergency Kit

After an emergency, you may have more limited resources than what you’re used to. It’s better to be prepared by building an Emergency Kit for what you or your family may need during that time than potentially be without food or clean water. Make sure all of your family members and your emergency contacts know where your Emergency Kit is located!

Not sure what you need? Ready.gov has a Starter Emergency Kit Guide [4], as well as ideas for additional supplies you may need if you have children or pets in your home.

According to readync.org, a basic Emergency Kit should include:

Remember to check expiration dates on supplies in your Emergency Kit each year. Add additional items to your kit as your needs change. Store your kit on-hand but in a separate location where you won’t be tempted to take from it for regular or daily use.

This September, during National Preparedness Month, take the time to make sure you are prepared for the next emergency.


Don’t Wait. Communicate.

This year, the theme for National Preparedness Awareness Month is “Don’t wait. Communicate.” Have a game plan so that you are prepared for disasters or emergencies in your homes, businesses and communities. You and your loved ones’ health and safety depend on preparing before a disaster: ready.gov [5] is a great resource to help you prepare all aspects of your life for emergencies.