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Emergencies & Your Health

Planning ahead to protect ourselves in a disaster, including people who are medically vulnerable.

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A basic family emergency plan should include:

  • Collecting and updating important information (contacts, documents, medical records, etc,) for everyone in the family;
  • Making sure everyone has ID;
  • Creating an extended family communication plan;
  • Setting up to receive emergency alerts and warnings;
  • Making an evacuation plan, and assembling materials for an evacuation kit for everyone.

Once you've got a plan, make sure everyone in the plan knows what to do. Review it together (maybe also practice or rehearse), so that people can move quickly in an emergency.

Fill out a family emergency plan

Make Sure You Can Communicate

Being able to communicate with each other in an emergency is key! 

A family communication plan should:

  • Identify an out-of town contact for every member of your household;
  • Equip your family with the contact’s phone number and a cell phone or prepaid phone card;
  • Make sure everyone is prepared to use text messaging if a voice call cannot go through.

Keep neighbors, friends, and family informed of your whereabouts

More on making phone calls in emergencies:

Our phones are our lifelines - but it's easy to forget that they're affected by power outages and disasters too.

When an emergency or disaster effects an area, the FCC advises that we:

  • Call 911 only when no local phone numbers are available for highway accidents or other non-life-threatening incidents.
  • Limit non-emergency phone calls so emergency response teams can get through. (Making one phone call to an out-of-area emergency contact so that person can then notify other family, friends, and work colleagues helps with this.)
  • Wait at least 10 second before redialing a call that doesn't connect.
  • Try using text in non-emergency situations.
  • Conserve cell phone's battery by putting it in "airplane" mode or turning it off when not actually using it (so it doesn't use power constantly looking to make a connection).
  • If evacuated, forward a home landline to cell phone.

This video has captions in Chinese, English, Filipino, French, Korean, Spanish, & Vietnamese.

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