Create an Emergency & Escape Plan

Create an Emergency Plan

Meet with household members. Discuss with children the dangers of fire, severe weather, earthquakes, floods and other emergencies. Discuss what to do about power outages and personal injuries. Draw a floor plan of your home. Mark two escape routes from your room. Learn how to turn off the water, gas and electricity at main switches. Post emergency telephone numbers near telephones. Teach children how and when to call 911, Police and Fire. Instruct household members to turn on the radio for emergency information. Pick one out-of-state and one local friend or relative for family members to call if separated by disaster (it is often easier to call out-of-state than within the affected area). Teach children how to make long distance telephone calls. Pick two meeting places: 1. A place near your home in case of disaster; 2. A place outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home after a disaster. Take a basic first aid and CPR class. Remember to keep family records in a water and fire-proof container.

You can download an Emergency Preparedness Guide here (PDF).

Escape Plan

In a fire or other emergency, you may need to evacuate your house, apartment, or mobile home in a moment's notice. You should be ready to get out fast. Develop an escape plan by drawing a floor plan of your residence. Using a black or blue pen, show the location of doors, windows, stairways, and large furniture. Indicate the location of emergency supplies (Disaster Supplies Kit), fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, collapsible ladders, first aid kits and utility shut off points. Next, use a colored pen to draw a broken line charting at least two escape routes from each room. Finally, mark a place outside of the house where household members should meet in case of fire or other emergency. Be sure to include important points outside such as garages, patios, stairways, elevators, driveways and porches. If your home has more than two floors, use an additional sheet of paper. Practice emergency evacuation drills with all household members at least two times a year.


√ Find out which disasters could occur in your area.
√ Ask how to prepare for each disaster
√ Learn your community's evacuation routes.
√ Ask about special assistance for elder or disabled persons.
√ Ask your workplace about emergency plans.
√ Learn about emergency plans for your children's school or day care.

Home Hazards

In a disaster, ordinary items in the home can cause injury and damage. Anything that can move, fall, break or cause a fire is a potential hazard. Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections. Fasten shelves securely. Place large, heavy objects on lower shelves. Hang pictures and mirrors away from beds. Brace overhead light fixtures. Secure water heater. Strap to wall studs, repair cracks in ceilings or foundations. Store weed killers, pesticides and flammable products away from heat source. Place oily polishing rags or waste in covered metal cans. Clean and repair chimneys, flue pipes, vent connectors and gas vents.


  • Listen to a battery powered radio for the location of emergency shelters.
  • Follow instructions of local officials.
  • Wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes.
  • Take your Disaster Supplies Kit. Don't forget to take your prescription medications with you.
  • Lock your house.
  • Use travel routes specified by local officials.
  • If you are sure you have time: shut off water, gas and electricity, if instructed to do so.
  • Let others know when you left and where you're going.
  • Make arrangements for pets. Animals may not be allowed in public shelters.
  • Prepare an emergency car kit, be sure to include:
  • Battery powered radio and flashlight and extra batteries.
  • Blanket, tire repair kit and pump.
  • Jumper cables, maps, shovel, flares.
  • Fire extinguisher (5lb., A-B-C type).
  • First aid kit and manual.
  • Bottled water and non-perishable high energy foods such as granola bars, raisins and peanut butter.