Plan Ahead

Residents of Padre Island and Corpus Christi in Texas evacuate ahead of Hurricane Bret in August 1999.

More than a collection of names, phone numbers, and street addresses, an Emergency Action Plan  is an instruction manual for how to stay healthy, stay informed, and stay in contact in an emergency. Because an Emergency Action Plan affects everyone in your household, the whole household should be involved in making and practicing the plan.


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


Pre-identify official sources of timely and reliable emergency information.


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

According to FEMA , over 60 percent of people do not have an emergency plan that they have discussed with their household. Here are 5 simple things you can do to start your Emergency Action Plan :

  • Find phone numbers for your physician, pediatrician, pharmacist, and veterinarian. Other important numbers you should know include:
    • Poison Control Center: 800-222-1222
    • Animal Poison Control Helpline: 888-426-4435
    • Disaster Distress Helpline: 800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746
  • 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, two (2) emergency meeting places outside your home where your family can reunite in an emergency, and at least two (2) ways out of every room in your home.
  • Ask your child’s school or daycare about their emergency communication and family reunification plans.
  • Update your Emergency Action Plan whenever your family moves, your child changes schools, you change jobs, have a child, or experience some other significant life event.
Page last reviewed: January 7, 2019, 02:25 PM