Plan Ahead

Plan Ahead

Planning ahead for how to maintain and protect your health in a disaster or emergency is an important but often overlooked part of the Prepare Your Health process. About half (49 percent) of all respondents to FEMA’s 2018 National Household Surveyexternal icon said they have made an emergency plan. Involve your entire family in planning and practicing how to stay healthy, informed, calm, and connected through adversity.


Know how to stay healthy, and when and where to find medical assistance.

stay calm image mother child yoga

Practice ways to stay calm, cool, and collected in an emergency.


Discuss ways to communicate with family, friends, and caregivers.


Find sources of reliable health and emergency information.

Emergency Action Plan

More than a collection of names and phone numbers, an Emergency Action Plan is your user guide for how to stay healthy, informed, calm, and connected in an emergency. Below are some of the simple things you can do to start on a plan for your family. Remember to review your plan every six months and to update it as necessary; for example, if you move, change jobs, add to your family (i.e., a child or a pet), or experience another significant life event.

  • Find phone numbers for your physician, pediatrician, pharmacist, counselor, and veterinarian. Other important numbers you should know include:
  • Collect and protect important paperwork, such as:
  • Ask a friend or relative who lives outside of the immediate area—preferably in another state—to be your family’s Out-of-Town Contact.
  • Identify a shelter-in-place location inside your home, a “sick room” and separate bathroom that can be used to separate sick household members from those who are healthy, two (2) emergency meeting places outside your home where your family can reunite in an emergency, at least two (2) ways out of every room in your home.
  • Locate boarding facilities or animal hospitals where you can lodge your pets in an evacuation. Contact a local animal shelter, animal control, or a relief organization if you need help or have questions.
  • Ask your employer and your child’s school or daycare for copies and an explanation of their emergency plans. Does the school have a family reunification plan? What are the sick-leave policies and telework options at work?
Page last reviewed: April 13, 2020, 04:10 PM