Create Your Family Disaster Plan

Be Prepared for the Worst

Whether a natural disaster or a human act, things can go wrong quickly and unexpectedly. You may need to evacuate your home or you may be confined to it. Whichever the circumstance, the basic needs of your family will need to be taken care of. While relief workers such as the PCFD will be on scene as quickly as possible, your family should be able to survive for a number of days, with ample water, food, and other necessary items.

By planning and preparing for the worst-case scenario, you can ensure that you and your family are not left hungry, cold, or injured without first aide. We’ve put together a list of items that you should have in your home and vehicle to be ready if disaster strikes.
Following these steps and answering these questions will get you on your way to keeping your family comfortable and safe.

Four Steps to Safety

1. List What Could Happen to You

Disasters that may affect your family will vary based on where you live and factors such as whether you live in an urban or rural environment, the types of natural disasters that occur, and the availability of necessary resources will guide your plan. Identify types of disasters that could affect you before creating a plan.

Types of disasters include:


  • Winter Storm
  • Wildland Fire
  • Earthquake
  • Cold/Heat Wave
  • Tornado
  • Avalanche


  • Active Shooter
  • Terrorism
  • Bomb Threat


  • Cyber Attack


Hazardous Materials

Structural/Utilities Failures

  • Blackout
  • Bridge Collapse

2. Create a Disaster Plan

Meet with your family and discuss why you need to prepare for disaster. Explain the dangers of fire, severe weather, earthquakes, and winter storms to your children. Plan to share responsibilities and work together as a team.

Discuss the types of disasters that are most likely to happen in your area. Explain what to do in each case and choose two places to meet in the event that your family gets separated.

Finally, ask an out-of-state friend to be your family contact. After a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance. Other family members should call this person and tell them where they are. Everyone must know your contact’s phone number.

3. Complete This Checklist

  • Post emergency telephone numbers by phones (fire, police, ambulance, etc.).
  • Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1 or your local Emergency Medical Services number for emergency help.
  • Show each family member how and when to turn off the water, gas and electricity at the main switches.
  • Ensure you have adequate insurance coverage for the dangers in your area.
  • Teach each family member how to use the fire extinguisher (ABC type), and show them where it’s kept.
  • Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms.
  • Conduct a home hazard hunt.
  • Stock emergency supplies and assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit.
  • Take a Red Cross first aid and CPR class.
  • Determine the best escape routes from your home. Find two ways out of each room.
  • Find the safe spots in your home for each type of disaster.

4. Practice and Maintain Your Plan

  • Quiz your kids every six months so they remember what to do.
  • Conduct fire and emergency evacuation drills.
  • Replace stored water every three months and stored food every six months
  • Test and recharge your fire extinguisher(s) according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Test your smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.

Prepare Your Kit
There are six basics you should stock for your home: water, food, first aid supplies, clothing and bedding, tools and emergency supplies, and special items (such as medications, epi pens, etc.).

For a complete list of items you should include in your supply kits, how to store water, and what foods to store, review the information here: