September is National Preparedness Month, and the Department of Homeland Security wants families to have plans for how they will handle possible disasters. Through its Ready campaign and PrepareAthon events, the DHS has made available a wealth of tips and other information that will help you and your loved ones better handle a disaster. Developing a plan is the most important action, and the Ready campaign has put together simple steps for families to follow as they prepare.

Step 1
Put together a plan by discussing these four questions with your family, friends or household to start your emergency plan:
• How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
• What is my shelter plan?
• What is my evacuation route?
• What is my family/household communication plan?

Step 2
Consider specific needs in your household. As you prepare your plan, tailor your plans and supplies to your specific daily living needs and responsibilities. Discuss your needs and responsibilities and how people in the network can assist each other with communication, care of children, business, pets or specific needs, like the operation of durable medical
equipment. Create your own personal network for specific areas where you need assistance. Keep some of these factors in mind when developing your plan:
• Different ages of members within your household
• Responsibilities for assisting others
• Locations frequented
• Dietary needs
• Medical needs including prescriptions and equipment
• Disabilities or access and functional needs including devices and equipment
• Languages spoken
• Cultural and religious considerations
• Pets or service animals
• Households with school-aged children

Step 3
Fill out a Family Emergency Plan, which you can download at www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/34330.

Step 4
Practice your plan with your family or household. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to also know which types of disasters could affect your area. Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.

You can find additional information on how to best prepare for potential disasters by visiting www.Ready.gov.