Work Emergency Kit

Work Emergency Kit

Keep this personal emergency kit in a desk, locker or other quick access area to help you survive an emergency until you are able to evacuate and go home.  Make sure your place of business has an emergency plan and additional emergency supplies.



Shelter & Warmth



First Aid


Hygiene & Sanitation

Clothing & Personal Items

Important Papers & Money

  • Emergency & Non-Emergency Numbers
  • Emergency Family Contacts:  Phone, Address & E-mail
  • Home, Work, School, Day Care, Out of Area, Out of State
  • Local Maps with Evacuation Routes, Home, Work, School, Family Meeting Places
  • Currant Copies of Family Photos & IDs
  • Personal Medical Information
  •           Medical Providers
  •           List of Medications
  •           Special Medical Equipment
  •           Medical Conditions
  •           Vaccinations
  •           Blood Type
  •           Allergies & Sensitivities
  •           Health Insurance
  • Emergency Cash
  • Coins for Pay Phones

Kit must be small enough to fit in a desk or locker.



Shelter & Warmth


  • Unnecessary


First Aid


Hygiene & Sanitation

Clothing & Personal Items

Important Papers & Money

  • Child ID Tag with Emergency Contact Info, Family Picture & Medical Info
  • Small Bills & Change

Lightning Hit

How safe is YOUR home?

Are flashlights and spare batteries easily accessible in the event of a power outage?  Flashlights are safer than candles.
Are step stools with handles or ladders used to reach high objects?
Are emergency numbers posted next to every phone? (911, Poison Control 1-800-222-1222, Work, School, Day Care, Out of State Emergency Contact, etc.)
Are there First Aid Kits that are easily identifiable, labeled and easily accessible around the house?  Does everyone know where they are?
Do all responsible people know basic first aid and how and when to use the first aid kits?
Do all responsible people know how and when to use a fire extinguisher?
Are shelves bolted to the wall and items on shelves secured so as not to topple in an earthquake?
Does everyone have their own, personalized, portable 72 Hour Kit stored in an easily accessible location like the front door closet?
Are all emergency kits checked, inventoried and expired items rotated every six months?
Is there enough food and water stored to last everyone in the home a minimum of one month?
Is there a sanitation kit with supplies to last at least a month if the water and sewer are not functioning?
Are there extra blankets and a safe means of warming the home if the power and gas go out?
Is there a family emergency communication plan?  Does everyone have a copy and know how it works?
Are copies (not the originals) of all important documents kept outside the home in a safe deposit box or trusted family member’s safe?
Do you keep your lighters and matches locked, out of the reach and sight of children?
Do you keep lighters and matches away from heat sources like stoves or heaters?
Do you make sure lighters, matches, candles and smoking materials are “cold out” before disposing of them, leaving the home or going to bed?
Do you make sure candles are sitting on a non-combustible base and are away from curtains, lamp shades, plants, decorations and children when burning?
Do you have plenty of large non-combustible candle bases or ashtrays in every room?
Is “NO SMOKING IN BED” a rule in your home?
Do you have a smoke detector on every floor and inside or near every bedroom properly installed?  Does everyone know what it sounds like?
Do you have a carbon monoxide (CO) detector on every floor properly installed?  Does everyone know what it sounds like?
Do you test your smoke and CO detector monthly and change batteries twice a year?  Are detectors replaced every 10 years?
Do you have a fire extinguisher mounted outside each room that contains a serious heat source? (furnace room, kitchen, water heater, laundry/shop area, etc.)
Do you, your children & babysitter know how and when to call 9-1-1?
Do you have an escape plan from every room in your home?
Have you practiced that escape plan by holding fire drills in your home twice each year?  Have you practiced it at least once while everyone was asleep?
Is there a plan to help young children or the elderly who may sleep through an alarm?  Is a person designated to help?
Does everyone know at least two escape routes from every room?
Do upper floor rooms have an emergency ladder or other means of escape?
Is there a designated place to meet a safe distance from your home?
Do you allow only qualified electricians to install or repair your wiring?
Do you have enough electrical outlets in every room to avoid the need for multiple plug attachments or long extension cords?
Do responsible people know how to reset breakers or replace fuses?  If you blow fuses or breakers often in your home, you need an electrician.
Are all extension cords in the open — not run under rugs, furniture, over hooks or through partitions or door openings?
Do all outlets and switches have properly fitting face plates?
If there are children, are safety caps installed over electrical outlets?
Are bulbs the correct wattage for the lamps of light fixtures in which they are used?
Too many appliances using the same outlet can cause a fire.  Are outlets used properly?  Are surge protectors used?
Do you have your heating system inspected and serviced before heating season begins?
Do you have all flue pipes, vent connectors, gas vents and chimneys inspected each fall and cleaned and repaired if necessary?
Are wood floors under stoves and heaters protected by insulation or ventilated airspace?
Do you always turn off portable or gas heaters when you go to bed?
Do you always keep a window slightly open in rooms where gas or oil heaters are being used?
Is the water heater set to 120º F or below to prevent scalding?
Is the water heater securely mounted to wall studs with sturdy earthquake straps and connected with a flexible gas hose?
Do all responsible people know how, when and where to turn off main water, gas and electricity to the house?
Are loose clothing, curtains, potholders or other combustibles near cooking ranges or heating equipment arranged so as to not fall or blow over the heat source?
Do you keep your range, its oven and broiler, clean of grease?
Has everyone been warned not to wear loose-fitting clothing near a kitchen range?  Loose garments may catch on fire.
Are pot holders used when cooking?
Are children kept away from the range when cooking?
Do all appliances have an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) mark or stamp?
Are dangerous products labeled and stored in different areas from food, beverages and medicines?
If there are children, are product safety caps and cupboard locks used?
Are cupboard locks used to prevent cupboards from opening in the event of an earthquake?
Is heated food temperature tested before given to young children?
Are there non-slip surfaces or adhesive strips in bathtubs and showers?
If there are elderly or disabled, are grab bars installed near toilets and in bathtubs and showers?
Do bath mats have non-slip bottoms?
Are bathroom floors kept clean and dry?
Are there nightlights in bathrooms?
When children use the sink or tub, is an adult within arms reach?
If there are children, are toilet seat locks properly installed?
Are medicines and cleaners kept in their original containers with labels and kept separate from each other?
If there are children, are medicines, cosmetics and cleaners locked in cabinets?
Are electrical appliances kept away from water and unplugged and put away after using?
Do all electrical outlets in bathrooms and near water use a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) to prevent shock?
Do all exterior doors and windows have locks?    
Do windows and doors unlock and open easily from the inside?    
Do “dead-bolt” locks have a “thumb-turn”, not a “key” inside lock?  A missing key could trap you inside.    
Are all doors and windows kept locked when not in use?    
Are windows made of tempered safety glass?    
Do security bars have an inside release latch?  Does everyone know how to use it?    
Are window blind cords up high out of reach of children?    
Window blind cords should not have a loop.  Has the loop been cut in two pieces?    
If there are children, do upper windows have window guards to prevent falling out?    
Are stairs, doorways and escape routes kept clear?    
Are rugs and carpets secured to the floor or removed?    
Are stairways adequately lit at the top and bottom?    
Are there nightlights and emergency lights in hallways and along emergency escape routes?    
If there are children, are there gates at the top and bottom of stair cases?
Do hand rails go completely from the top to the bottom of the stairs?
Are shelves bolted to the wall and items on shelves secured so as not to topple in an earthquake?
Is home office equipment unplugged when not in use?
Is home office equipment and supplies out of children’s reach or safely locked away?
Does the paper shredder have safety features and is it unplugged when not in use?
Are file cabinet drawers kept closed when not in use?
Are shelves bolted to the wall and items on shelves secured so as not to topple in an earthquake?
Is a smoke detector installed and checked regularly?
Are emergency numbers posted by the phone?
Do you keep your yard cleared of leaves, debris, and combustible rubbish?
If any of the surrounding property is vacant, have weeds, dry leaves, and rubbish been cleared away?
If your garage is attached to the house, is there a tight-fitting door which is always kept closed?
Is gasoline only used as a fuel for motors?
Is gasoline stored in a container that is designed specifically for gasoline and stored out of sight and out of reach of children?
Do you warn your family never to use gasoline, benzene or other flammable fluids carelessly near visible or hidden open flame or for cleaning?
Are children kept away from BBQ grills during cooking?
Are gas BBQ grills checked for leaks before each use and stored with the gas disconnected after each use?
Do swimming pools have a fence with a self-locking gate?
Are adults always present when children are in or near water?
Are large buckets stored upside down so as not to collect water?
Are stairs, porches and walkways well lit?
Do stairs have hand rails?
Are ladders put away, locked and stored on their side so children cannot climb on them and intruders cannot use them?
Are stairs kept clear of tripping hazards?
If there are young children, is a safety gate used to prevent falls from the deck or porch?
Is there 9 to 12 inches of mulch, wood chips or safety material under playground equipment?
Are tools, chemicals, car fluids, pesticides and lawn and garden products put away after use and kept out of reach and out of sight of children?
Is garden equipment stored where children cannot reach it?
Are sharp tools stored pointing downward?
Are shelves bolted to the wall and items on shelves secured so as not to topple in an earthquake?
Is the garage clean from dust, webs and trash, which can interfere with the electrical system?
Does the automatic garage door opener have an auto-reverse feature that prevents trapping people or pets?
Do garage and shed doors have locks?  Are they used?
Are tools, toys and equipment not left in the yard where they can be stolen or be possible hazards in an emergency?
Are electric generators, BBQ grills and gas powered tools only used outside?
Is the house number visible from the street, day and night?
Much of the information was obtained from

WaterWilderness Breakdown
Shelter & Warmth
First Aid
Hygiene & Sanitation
Clothing & Personal Items
Important Papers & Money
  • Emergency & Non-Emergency Numbers
  • Emergency Family Contacts:  Phone, Address & E-mail
  • Home, Work, School, Day Care, Out of Area, Out of State
  • Local Maps with Evacuation Routes, Home, Work, School, Family Meeting Places
  • Currant Copies of Family Photos & IDs
  • Personal Medical Information
  •           Medical Providers
  •           List of Medications
  •           Special Medical Equipment
  •           Medical Conditions
  •           Vaccinations
  •           Blood Type
  •           Allergies & Sensitivities
  •           Health Insurance
  • Emergency Cash
  • Coins for Pay Phones
Auto Kit Specifics


  • One Apple Box with Lid, or 2 large matching boxes with flaps cut off
  • Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil
  • Stapler
  • Heavy Duty Scissors
  • Metal Wire Rack that fits completely in the box horizontally
  • Metal Wire (Optional)
  • 2 Pie Tins
  • Bricks or Boards for a Base
  • Charcoal
  • Tongs
  • Hot Pads

(Figure 1)

Box Oven Instructions:

  1. Completely cover the inside and bottom of the apple box with heavy-duty aluminum foil.  Fold the foil over the edges about 2” and staple it to the box.  (Figure 2)  Turn the box on its side.
  2. Place a rack in the box so that it is level and approximately 8” from the bottom of the box.  You may secure it with wire on all 4 corners of the rack.  Or, use a rack that comes with legs.  Make sure the rack fits completely inside the box. (Figure 3)
  3. Cut the lid of the apple box or second matching box down to about 3” to 4” from the bottom.  (Figure 4)  This is now the door of the oven.  Cover the outside of the door with foil and secure the foil in place with staples.  (Figure 5)  Place the lid with the foil side toward the opening of the oven to form a door.
  4. Place bricks or boards under the bottom edges of the oven so air can circulate and keep the outside of the box cool. (Figure 6)
  5. Put two pie tins with the bottoms together and the tops facing up and down.  The top tin holds the coals while the bottom tin prevents the coals from burning the oven.   (Figure 7)  Place about 12 hot coals in the top pie tin and place both tins in the bottom, center of the oven.
  6. Place food on the rack for cooking like you would in a normal oven.  Cover with the oven door to cook the food.  (Figure 8, Figure 9)
  7. Use a pair of pliers or tongs to adjust the coals and a hot pad to remove the hot pans from the oven. (Figure 10)

Reflector Oven Instructions:

  • To use the oven as a reflector oven, you don’t need the pie tins or the door.  Place the pan of food on the rack in the oven and set the oven close to and facing a heat source like a campfire.  The radiant heat from the heat source will then cook the food.  (Figure 11)

72 Hour Kit

72 Hour Kit


72 Hour Kit Rules: 

  1. One personalized, self-contained kit per person
  2. Individually Portable
  3. Store for easy, quick access – Closet near front door is ideal
  4. Update every 6 months
  5.           Summer clothes to winter clothes, winter clothes to summer clothes
  6.           Check medications
  7.           Check food
  8.           Check water
  9.           Check batteries
  10.           Check cooking fuel
  11.           Check inventory
  12.           Update documents
  13. All 10 survival needs, but only the basics:  Food, Water, Hygiene & Sanitation, Shelter & Heat, Cooking, Light, Communication, First Aid, Personal Items & Clothing, Important Papers & Money
  14. Know how to use items in kits
  15. This list is more than can probably fit in your 72 Hour Kit.  Take the items from each of the 10 areas that are most important to your personal needs.  Bold items are recommended.
  16. Practice Evacuation with your family


*Baby Needs

**Store outside of pack, but in same location

***Don’t forget 


Backpack, Duffle Bag, 5 Gallon Bucket with lid or other Portable Container

Small enough to fit in your lap.  Approx. carry-on luggage size. 


Ready to Eat & Simple Preparation

  • Instant Soup Packets
  • Ramen Soup  
  • MRE Bread
  • Granola Bars
  • Instant Oatmeal Packets
  • Instant Apple Cider Packets
  • Instant Hot Chocolate Packets
  • Instant Broth Packets
  • Water Bottle Flavor Packets 
  • Fruit Cup
  • Raisins
  • Beef Jerky
  • Trail Mix
  • Fruit Roll-up
  • Crackers & Peanut Butter
  • Peanut Butter/Jelly Packets
  • Hard Candy
  • Emergency Ration/Energy Bars 
  • Multi Vitamins
  • *Liquid Vitamins 
  • *Powdered Baby Formula 
  • *Baby Cereal 
  • Paper Copy of Planned 3 Day Menu


DAY 1 

Breakfast – Granola, Hot Chocolate 

Lunch – Chicken Noodle Soup, Jerky, Fruit Roll up, Candy 

Dinner – 1/2 Ramen Noodle Soup, Fruit Bar 


Breakfast – Oatmeal, Apple Cider 

Lunch – Chicken Noodle Soup, Jerky, Raisins, Candy 

Dinner – Peanut Butter/Jelly, MRE Bread 

DAY 3 

Breakfast – Granola, Apple Cider 

Lunch – 1/2 Ramen Noodle Soup, Trail Mix, Candy 

Dinner – Cheese & Crackers, Fruit Cup 


Hygiene & Sanitation

Travel Size

Shelter & Heat




First Aid

Personal Items & Clothing

  • Multifunction Pocket Knife
  • Compass
  • Personal Prescription Medications
  • Diabetic Supplies 
  • Epinephrine Pen 
  • Complete Change of Clothing Incl. Socks & Underwear
  • Thermal Underwear 
  • *2 or 3 Complete Changes of Clothing 
  • **Sturdy Shoes or Boots
  • Extra Shoe Laces 
  • Bandana 
  • Paper Clips 
  • Rubber Bands 
  • Ear Plugs
  • **Coat/Hat/ Gloves-Mittens 
  • Small Games/Cards/Books
  • *Toy/Coloring Book/Crayons 
  • Extra Glasses/Contacts 
  • Polarized Sunglasses 
  • Mace/Pepper Spray 
  • *Baby Bib 
  • Religious Items (ie. scriptures, consecrated oil, cross) 
  • 100 Foot Nylon Clothesline 
  • Small Roll Duct Tape 
  • Small Wind-up Clock or Watch w/ Alarm 
  • Extra House & Car Keys 
  • ***Mobile Phone & Chargers 
  • ***Pets 
  • ***Pet 72 Hour Kit 

Important Papers & Money

  • 72 Hour Kit Inventory List
  • Emergency Contact List w/ Names, Addresses, Phone #s & E-mails of all Family Members for Home, Work, School & Day Care
  • Address, Phone# & E-mail of 1st & 2nd Family Emergency Meeting Places
  • Local Emergency Phone #s – Police, Fire, Ambulance, Poison Control, Family Doctor, Dentist,  Religious Leaders
  • Local Map with Home, Work, Schools, Em. Mtg. Places & Evacuation Routes Marked
  • Minimum $200 Cash in Small Bills
  • $10 in Change
  • Prepaid Phone Card
  • **Written Evacuation Plan
  • Current Individual Photos of Family Members for ID Purposes (“Has anyone seen this person?”)
  • Current Group Family Photos to ID as Family Group
  • Copies of– Printed Copy and/or Flash Drive
  •           Marriage Certificate
  •           Birth Certificate
  •           Social Security Card/Records
  •           Vehicle Registration/Title
  •           Will
  •           Guardianship
  •           Power of Attorney
  •           Personal Property Inventory List
  •           Insurance Agent & Policy #
  •           Life
  •           Auto
  •           Home
  •           Medical
  •           Diplomas
  •           Military
  •           School Certificates
  •           Immunization Records
  •           Prescriptions
  •           Budget
  •           Bills
  •           Outstanding Debts
  •           Checking/Savings/Credit Card Accounts
  •           Web Site Accounts
  •           Passwords
  •           Safe-Deposit Box Location & Number
  •           Assets
  •           Stocks
  •           Bonds
  •           Tax Returns
  •           Children’s Fingerprints
  •           Religious Documents (ie. Blessings, Prayers)
  • ***Wallet/Purse
  • ***Passport
  • ***Checkbook 

Take only if time & space are available

These items are NOT a part of your 72 Hour Kit     

Materials Needed:

  1. 3 standard soda pop cans
  2. Denatured or rubbing alcohol
  3. Matches or lighter
  4. 1″ x 1.5″ x 5″ swath of fiberglass insulation (optional)
  5. Heat resistant foil tape (optional)

 Tools Needed:

  1. Drill
  2. 1/8” & 1/16” drill bits
  3. Utility knife
  4. Scissors
  5. Straight edge
  6. Ruler
  7. Marking pen

 Assembly instructions:

  1. Score the bottom of one can with the utility knife until it easily pops out.   (Figure 1)
  2. Drill 1/16 inch holes spaced evenly around the bottom ring of the can for the burner.  Drill one 1/8 inch hole as a drain for leftover fuel.  (Figure 2)
  3. Using scissors, cut around the edge of the drilled end of the can until it is one inch high all the way around.  This is the top of the stove.  Cut another one inch base from a second can.  This is the bottom of the stove.  (Figure 3)
  4. On the top can, cut slits up from the bottom, stopping 1/8 inch from the top.  This piece will now fit inside the bottom can with some careful pressure.  (Figure 4)
  5. Carefully slide top and bottom pieces temporarily together.  Measure from top to bottom (Between the arrows) to get the width of the inner shield.  (Figure 5)
  6. Use a straight edge and utility knife to cut a strip from the third can to the width measured in Step 5.  (Figure 6)
  7. Place the inner shield into the base of the stove to get the correct circular measurement.  Then cut opposite slits and join ends together forming a ring.  (Figure 7)
  8. Cut about 3 notches on the bottom of the inner shield to allow fuel to flow into the outer ring.  Figure 8
  9. Place the inner shield in the base.  Place the optional fiberglass in the space between the inner shield and the outer wall of the base.  (Figure 9)
  10. Slide the top half into the bottom half of the stove.  Be careful to fit the inner shield into the inner lip of the top and bottom halves of the stove.  If there is any over hang from the bottom half, crimp the edges over with your thumb or a screw driver.  (Figure 10)
  11. You may use the heat resistant foil tape to cover the seams between the top and bottom halves of the stove to help prevent leaks.
  12. Completed stove.  (Figure 11) 

Add no more than 2 oz. alcohol to the center of the stove and light it.  The stove lights promptly so be careful, you won’t see an alcohol flame in daylight. It takes about a minute for the alcohol to heat up and achieve an even burn out the burner holes. Cover the stove with a larger can to put out the flame.  Support item to be heated 1.5 inches to 2 inches above the stove.  One ounce of fuel lasts a little longer than 5 minutes, just long enough to boil 12 ounces of water.

Tornado Emergency

Care for yourself, your family & your neighbors.

  • Before
  1. Learn & Plan
  2. Prepare
  3. Practice
  • During
  1. Remain Calm
  2. Gather Information
  3. Think
  4. Act
  5. Help
  • After
  1. Help
  2. Talk About It
  3. Resume Normal Life

You’ve prepared.  You’ve planned.  You have your emergency kits in order and they are ready to go.  You’re staying calm & you’re continually gathering information about the emergency you are now facing.  With that information you are adapting your emergency plans to this specific emergency.  So you have your plan of action, now DO IT!  This is the time that you hoped wouldn’t come, but you prepared for any way.  Don’t hesitate.  Seconds of delay could mean the difference between life and death.  Get going!

You First

Now that the emergency is here, who do you take care of first?  YOURSELF!  Just like they tell you on the airplane, put the oxygen mask on yourself before you put it on your child.  That sounds selfish, but think about it.  How can you care for your child or any other person if you are incapacitated?  Look after your own health and safety FIRST so that you CAN help others.  YOU are your first priority, your family is your second, neighbors and the community are third.

10 Areas of Emergency Preparedness

As you follow your plan, continue to assess the situation and change the plan as needed.  One of the greatest factors in survival is adaptability.  Remember the ten areas of emergency preparedness:

As you adapt your plan to THIS emergency, think about these ten things and how your preparations before hand and your current resources can be used for you and your family.  Your first thoughts should be on SHELTER.  Find shelter from extreme temperatures, elements and physical danger, ie…  escaping from a burning building, shelter from a severe thunderstorm or tornado, car breakdown or lost, earthquake or hurricane, terrorism or intruder.

Because of the nature of emergencies, even the most prepared and self reliant of individuals can find themselves needing help.  In the case of injury, misjudgment or just happenstance that puts us beyond our own means we will need to communicate our needs to others.  That may be verbally or by calling 911, blowing on an emergency whistle or banging on something.  It may require making a signal fire or using a signaling mirror.  The important thing is to make contact and let someone know you need help.

Help Others

After securing yourself and your family, depending on the size and scale of the emergency there are going to be a lot of people that need your help.  Take a volunteer emergency training class like CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) now to learn how to safely and effectively help others in a large scale emergency.

Look at your neighborhood.  You know there are a lot of people who take emergency preparedness for granted or even dismiss it all together.  There are others like you who seriously try to prepare their families for a possible disaster.  If there is a large scale incident, it won’t discriminate between the prepared and the unprepared, everyone is going to be needed to help everyone else.  Think about your neighborhood.  Are there any elderly or people who have difficulty moving unassisted?  Are there any families with many children or who have special needs or disabilities?  Talk to them now and discuss what help they may need in an emergency.

First Aid:  Check, Call, Care

After you have taken care of yourself and your family, is there anyone around that needs first aid?  When you go to help, remember to check the environment around the victim for hidden dangers.  You don’t want to become a second victim and double the problem.  After checking the environment, check the victim to determine what is wrong.  Call for available help and give care to the victim as far as you have been trained.

In an emergency situation, you do what you need to do to help you, your family and those around you to survive the duration.  After the emergency, working together, you can rebuild and return to normal life as quickly and completely as possible.

  • Before
  1. Learn & Plan
  2. Prepare
  3. Practice
  • During
  1. Remain Calm
  2. Gather Information
  3. Think
  4. Act
  5. Help
  • After
  1. Help
  2. Talk About It
  3. Resume Normal Life

The emergency has just happened. You are remaining calm and you are gathering information about the incident. Now you need to think about how to best apply the information you have for the situation you are facing.


One of the scarcest commodities in during an emergency is time. You probably don’t have much when you are gathering information and determining how you are going to use it. Use it wisely. Even though the time for emergency planning is over, you do need to QUICKLY think about how you are going to apply your plans to this situation. How much time do you have before you have to evacuate? This may determine what you can take with you and what additional security precautions you can take. How much time do you have before the hurricane or tornado arrives? This may determine where you can shelter or evacuate to.

Instructions from Authorities

What instructions have you received from the authorities? Did they tell you to shelter in place? Depending on the emergency, are you just staying where you are or do you need to find a safe room to shelter in? How are you best going to do that?
Did the authorities tell you to evacuate? Did they tell you what routes to take or to avoid? Can you take the car or the RV, or are you on foot or bike? What can you take with you? What has to be left behind? How are you best going to do that?

Location of Supplies

Think about the location of your previously stored emergency supplies. Can you get to your 72 hour kits or your first aid kit? Is your food and water storage easily accessible? What about your camping supplies or your sanitation supplies? Is the fire escape ladder where you need it? Can you use your flashlight or is there a gas leak and you need to use your glow stick? Where are they?

Available Resources

What resources are available that you can use to ensure your safety, your family’s safety and the safety of your neighborhood? Are there resources for sandbags? Are there chain saws and pry bars for clearing debris? Can you use a sheet, table cloth or curtain to make a bandage? What do you have to make a splint? Is there a door you can use for a backboard? What is there around you that you can fashion into a makeshift shelter for you and your family? Remember that people are resources as well. Does anyone have medical training? Is anyone a HAM radio operator? Are there any people trained in CERT (Community Emergency Response Team)? People can accomplish more working together rather separately.

Decide How to Act

You need to decide how you and your family are going to react and respond to the situation you are facing. If you have preplanned and practiced your emergency plan, this should be very quick and easy. Are you going to evacuate out the door or a window? Are you going to do CPR or the “chin tilt”? Are you going to evacuate west to the public shelter or north to your sister’s city? Are you going to shut off the gas and the water?

Whatever emergency you are facing and whatever your emergency plan, your plan needs to be flexible as you get more information and as your situation changes. You don’t have much time, but you need to take a quick moment to decide how to best implement your emergency plans. Remember to consider how much time you have, what instructions you have received, what supplies you have and what resources are available. After you have made your plan, ACT on it.

  • Before
  1. Learn & Plan
  2. Prepare
  3. Practice
  • During
  1. Remain Calm
  2. Gather Information
  3. Think
  4. Act
  5. Help
  • After
  1. Help
  2. Talk About It
  3. Resume Normal Life

Once an emergency happens, other than staying calm, the first thing we need to do is gather information.   Quickly gather as much information as possible about the situation.

What we need to know

WHAT IS THE EMERGENCY?  Nothing is scarier than facing an unknown threat.  The more you know what you are facing, the better you will be able to respond to the situation.  The noise that woke you up, is it an earthquake?  An intruder?  A house fire?

WHAT SIZE IS THE EMERGENCY?  Is it just affecting you?  Your family?  Your neighborhood?  City?  State? Nation?

WHAT AREAS ARE AFFECTED? Is it in our room or the basement?  Our house or the neighbors? Our neighborhood or three blocks north?  Which city?  Which state?  Nation?

HOW SEVERE IS THE EMERGENCY?  Is it a category 1 tornado or a 5?  Is it a 2.5 scaled earthquake or an 8.5?  Is it a first degree burn or a third?  Heart burn or a heart attack?

HOW MUCH TIME DO I HAVE TO RESPOND?  Do I have seconds to escape my burning house?  Is there minutes before the tornado arrives?  Do I have hours before the wildfire reaches my house?  Days before the hurricane arrives?

WHAT IS THE ESTIMATED DURATION OF THE EMERGENCY?  Minutes?  Hours?  Days?  Weeks?  Longer?

WHAT DO COMMUNITY LEADERS AND EMERGENCY RESPONDERS WANT US TO DO?  Do they need volunteers?  Do we evacuate or shelter in place?  If we evacuate, which route do we take?  Is it safe to drink the incoming water?

WHAT IS THE STATUS OF MY FAMILY MEMBERS?  Are the kids at school?  How are they?  Are they sheltering at the school or are they coming home?  Can Mom and Dad make it home from work?  Are they ok?  Is Fido still in the backyard?

WHAT IS THE STATUS OF MY NEIGHBORS?  Does the old couple across the street need help?  How about the single mother of 4 two houses down?

How we gather information

What’s the first source of emergency information you think of?  Probably the Emergency Alert System (EAS).  The EAS was created from the old national Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) that was developed during the cold war to alert in case of a nuclear attack.  The EAS is now used and controlled in your local area to alert in time of emergencies, natural and manmade.  It is also used for Amber Alerts.  All television and radio stations are required by the FCC to broadcast EAS alerts in the event of an emergency.  Be aware that oftentimes news organizations are more concerned with being first with information than being accurate with information.  If possible, use more than one or two sources to get a more complete picture of what is happening.  Have a battery operated radio you can use if the power goes out.  Also listen to the Nation Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather channels.  An emergency alert radio that automatically turns on in the event of an emergency is a good safe guard for your family.

If there is time, local authorities and police may drive down the streets broadcasting the emergency information through loud speakers or going door to door.

Some communities even have what is called “Reverse 911”.  Instead of YOU calling emergency dispatch, an automated message is sent from dispatch to all the land phones in the affected area.  Mobile phones and unlisted phones are not called unless users signup to be part of the service.

On a personal level, we have five senses to help us gather information as well.  Look around and SEE what is going on.  LISTEN not only to the radio and television, but to family members and neighbors.  Listen for sounds that may signal impending dangers.  SMELL can sometimes tell us about hazards, like natural gas leaks, that may be difficult to see or hear.  Our sense of TOUCH can tell us if a door is warm, signifying fire on the other side; or if a piece of debris on the ground may not be stable to stand on.  TASTE can tell us if water or food is not safe to consume.

There are many ways to gather information in an emergency.  Use as many as you are able to, as quickly as possible so you know what you are facing and how to respond.