Make a Family Communication Plan
Phone lines in the emergency area may be busy. It may be easier to make phone calls into a different town than to connect by phone with someone in the same town.
Text messages may still go through, even when phone lines are very busy.
You and your loved ones may not be together when a disaster hits. Make a plan for how you will connect to each other. Start by taking the following steps:
- Complete a contact card for each family member. Everyone should keep these cards with them at all times.
- Choose an emergency contact. Memorize the phone number if you can. A friend or relative who lives out of town might be easier to reach in an emergency. During an emergency, family members can text or call this person to let them know that they are safe.
- Make sure all your family members know how to text. Make sure everyone knows how to turn on a cell phone, find the text messaging app, type a message, and send it to a contact.
- Know emergency telephone numbers. Keep them in your cell phone and post them near your home phones. Some good numbers to have are your emergency contact, the fire department, police station, and hospital near you
Make a Family Disaster Plan
Before making your disaster plan, its important to know what types of emergencies are likely in your area and the best way to respond. For example, if tornadoes are common in your area, you will need to know what the warning signs are and where to take shelter. Check with your Local Red Cross chapter or Emergency Management Agency for more information.
- Find the safe spots in your home for each type of disaster. For example, during an earthquake you will need to "drop, cover, and hold on" under a sturdy desk or table. However, during a tornado, you would need to seek shelter in a lower level room without windows. Learn more about different types of disasters.
- Choose multiple meeting places. Different disasters may require you to go to different places. Make sure you choose a meeting place in your neighborhood, a meeting place just outside your neighborhood, and a meeting place out of town.
- Determine the best escape routes from your home. Find two ways to get out of each room.
- PRACTICE.Review these plans with all members of your family. Practice your disaster plans by running drills with the whole family.
- Don't Forget Pets! Think about what you would do with your pets, because they may not be allowed in emergency shelters. For more information, check out Preparing Your Pet for Emergencies.
Get your kids ready
- Teach children how and when to call 911 for help.
- Quiz your kids on the plan to make sure they remember what to do.
- Include your kids in planning and drills.
Ready Wrigley can help your kids be ready for many kinds of emergencies!
Take these additional steps to be prepared
Check and replace your supplies throughout the year, as needed.
Watches and Warnings In addition to understanding HOW you will be informed of potential threats, you need to understand the terms that are used for weather threats.
Your local emergency management agency
- A watch means that there is a high possibility that a weather emergency will occur. When a severe storm watch is issued for your area, continue to listen to the radio
Learn How to Shelter in Place
"Shelter-in-place" means to take immediate shelter where you are—at home, work, school, or in between. It may also mean "seal the room;" in other words, take steps to prevent outside air from coming in. This is because local authorities may instruct you to "shelter-in-place" if chemical or radiological contaminants are released into the environment. It is important to listen to TV or radio to understand whether the authorities wish you to merely remain indoors or to take additional steps to protect yourself and your family.
How do I prepare?
- Choose a room in advance for your shelter. The best room is one with as few windows and doors as possible. A large room, preferably with a water supply, is desirable—something like a master bedroom that is connected to a bathroom.
- Contact your workplaces, your children's schools, nursing homes where you may have family and your local town or city officials to find out what their plans are for "shelter-in-place."
- Find out when warning systems will be tested. When tested in your area, determine whether you can hear or see sirens and/or warning lights from your home.
- Develop your own family emergency plan so that every family member knows what to do. Practice it regularly.
- Assemble a disaster supplies kit that includes emergency water and food supplies.
- Help ensure that the emergency plan and checklist involves all employees. Volunteers or recruits should be assigned specific duties during an emergency. Alternates should be assigned to each duty.
- The shelter kit should be checked on a regular basis. Duct tape and first aid supplies can sometimes disappear when all employees know where the shelter kit is stored. Batteries for the radio and flashlight should be replaced regularly.
- Learn CPR, first aid and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED). (Contact your local American Red Cross chapter for more information.)
How will I know when I need to "shelter-in-place"?
Fire or police department warning procedures could include:
- "All-Call" telephoning - an automated system for sending recorded messages, sometimes called "reverse 9-1-1".
- Emergency Alert System (EAS) broadcasts on the radio or television.
- Outdoor warning sirens or horns.
- News media sources - radio, television and cable.
- NOAA Weather Radio alerts.
- Residential route alerting - messages announced to neighborhoods from vehicles equipped with public address systems.
Facilities that handle potentially dangerous materials, like nuclear power plants, are required to install sirens and other warning systems (flash warning lights) to cover a 10-mile area around the plant.
For more information, contact any of the following:
- Your local American Red Cross chapter
- Your state and local health departments
- or television for updates and pay attention to visible weather changes around you.
- A warning means that a weather emergency is already happening, or will happen soon. When you hear a warning, take immediate action
Atlantic Hurricane Season starts June 1 and ends November 30
All residents are encouraged to BE PREPARED for a storm threat. Below you will find links with information to help you and your family prepare your home and property before a storm and checklists to help you prepare for during and after a storm.
Hurricane Terms & Alerts
Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a tropical storm or hurricane.
- Tropical Depression
- An organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 38 MPH (33 knots) or less. Sustained winds are defined as one-minute average wind measured at about 33 ft (10 meters) above the surface.
- Tropical Storm
- An organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 39–73 MPH (34–63 knots).
- An intense tropical weather system of strong thunderstorms with a well-defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 MPH (64 knots) or higher.
See the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale for hurricane categories.
- Hurricane/Tropical Storm Watch
- An announcement issued when hurricane/tropical storm conditions pose a possible threat in the specified area, generally within 36 hours. Be prepared to evacuate. Monitor local radio and television news outlets or listen to NOAA Weather Radio for the latest developments.
- Hurricane/Tropical Storm Warning
- A warning is issued when hurricane/tropical storm conditions are expected in the specified area, usually within 24 hours. Once issued, you should determine the safest location to be during the storm. If an evacuation order has been issued for your area, leave immediately for a safer location.
- Short Term Watches and Warnings
- Provide detailed information about specific threats associated with hurricane/tropical storm conditions, such as flash floods and tornadoes.
- Storm Surge
- A dome of water pushed onshore by hurricane and tropical storm winds. Storm surges can reach 25 feet high and be 50–1000 miles wide.
- Storm Tide
- A combination of storm surge and the normal tide (i.e., a 15-foot storm surge combined with a 2-foot normal high tide over the mean sea level created a 17-foot storm tide).
- Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale
- A classification scale of five categories based on a hurricane's wind speed, central pressure, and damage potential (see chart below). Category Three and higher hurricanes are considered major hurricanes, though Categories One and Two can still be extremely dangerous and warrant your full attention.
|Category ||Sustained Winds ||Damage ||Potential Storm Surge |
|Category 1 ||74-95 mph ||Very dangerous winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days. |
|4-5 ft |
|Category 2 ||96-110 mph ||Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage: Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks. |
|6-8 ft |
|Category 3 ||111-129 mph ||Devastating damage will occur: Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes. |
|9-12 ft |
|Category 4 ||130-156 mph ||uninCatastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be inhabitable for weeks or months. |
|13-18 ft |
|Category 5 ||>= 157 mph ||Catastrophic damage will occur: A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months. |
|> 18 ft |
For more information on hurricane preparedness and how to protect your property from hurricane damage visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
NOTE: the preparedness resources on this website are too numerous to list on one page. For more resources on specific topics, see the list of specific types of emergencies below.
Preparedness for Specific Types of Emergencies
Preparedness for Businesses
Preparedness for Healthcare Facilities
State & Local Preparedness
- Considerations for Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed (AVA) Post-Exposure Prioritization (237 KB/19 pages)
- Preparedness Planning Tools: Spreadsheet-based software models designed to assist state, regional, and federal level preparedness planners.
- Public Health Preparedness: Mobilizing State by State
Inaugural CDC report on public health emergency preparedness. Provided by the CDC Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response (COTPER).
- Public Health Emergency Response Guide for State, Local, & Tribal Public Health Directors
All-hazards reference tool for health professionals who are responsible for initiating the public health response during the first 24 hours (i.e., the acute phase) of an emergency or disaster. Version 2 now available!
- Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Centers
- Cooperative Agreement Guidance for Public Health Emergency Preparedness
Guidance for CDC emergency preparedness funding for states. CDC has announced the availability of FY 2008 funding for continuation of the cooperative agreements to upgrade state & local public health jurisdictions’ preparedness for & response to bioterrorism, other outbreaks of infectious disease, & other public health threats & emergencies.
- CDC Support for the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC)
Information about EMAC, the interstate mutual aid agreement that provides a mechanism for sharing personnel, resources, equipment & assets among states during emergencies & disasters.
- MMWR: Brief Report: Terrorism & Emergency Preparedness in State & Territorial Public Health Departments — United States, 2004
MMWR 2005 May 13;54(18):459-460.
- MMWR: Assessment of Epidemiologic Capacity in State & Territorial Health Departments — United States, 2004
MMWR 2005 May 13;54(18):457-459.
- MMWR: Improvement in Local Public Health Preparedness & Response Capacity — Kansas, 2002–2003
MMWR 2005 May 13;54(18):461-462.
- Guidance on Initial Responses to a Suspicious Letter/Container With a Potential Biological Threat[PDF - 247 KB]
Guidelines for local responders, based on existing procedures, on the initial response to letters, packages, or containers containing suspicious powders, liquids, or other materials. Developed by HHS/CDC, FBI, & DHS.
- Cities Readiness Initiative (CRI)
Pilot program to aid cities in increasing their capacity to deliver medicines and medical supplies during a large-scale public health emergency