How to Prepare for an Emergency

30 Minutes

Natural and man-made disasters are occurring more frequently, and taking steps to prepare yourself and your family to cope with an emergency is critical to your physical safety and financial well-being. This topic presents guidelines for how to prepare for an emergency and prepare your household to meet the challenges of a disaster in your area.


This topic offers a guide regarding how to prepare for an emergency, including both natural and man-made disasters. It provides a list of all the essential items a household would require in the case of a hazardous event.

The section also provides a disaster preparation assessment rating to help you determine exactly how important disaster preparation is for you, and what you can do to improve your situation.

You can carefully plan your financial future by disciplined saving and reducing expenses. However, all your plans can be simply washed away by a major unforeseen incident or disaster. Accounting for such disasters and preparing for unforeseen financial setbacks is the true secret to a financially secure lifestyle and a safer future for you and your loved ones.

How to Prepare for an Emergency - Complimentary guide

How to prepare for an emergency sounds more difficult than it actually is. By following some basic steps, you and your family can ensure a certain amount of safety in case of a natural or man-made disaster. All disaster preparation requires is organization and planning, which in turn can help save lives.

Preparing for Disasters

Knowing the potential natural hazards in the region where you live is essential to manage your risk effectively. For example, if your area is prone to flooding, make measures to safeguard your home against water damage a top priority.

Among the first things you should do to prepare for potential disaster is to set aside adequate necessities to last at least a few days, if not weeks. Most disaster relief agencies recommend a bare minimum of two weeks of supplies. Necessities include fresh water, food, and medication. Depending on the size and scale of the disaster, your supplies may need to be rationed; or you can increase the store of supplies you set aside.

An average human requires at least half a gallon of water per day to survive. Adults also require about 2,000 calories of food per day to stay strong. Being well stocked with food and water is critical when facing a disaster.

A hurricane, flood, tornado, or earthquake can easily lead to injuries caused by fallen debris or the force of the elements. In the event of a disaster, having first aid supplies like bandages, painkillers, and emergency prescriptions is essential.

Apart from the necessities, you also should invest in items you may need to rely upon in case of an emergency such as extra clothing, flashlights, dust masks, garbage bags, duct tape, and other protective gear.

How to Prepare for an Emergency - Natural Disasters

After a disaster, communication via conventional channels can become temporarily disabled. Having communication devices like battery-operated radios and power banks can help you stay in touch and charge operational cell phones. Leaving emergency contact information on the fridge and following a well-thought-out emergency plan can help ensure effective communication with loved ones.

A toolbox is a must in any home. Tools can come in handy and every household should have at least primary tools like a wrench, hammer, and pliers. You can use wrenches and pliers to turn on and switch off utilities like electricity and water. Hammer and nails can be used to reinforce structures.

Having cash set aside for emergency situations also is a must, in case power outages close down your access to financial institutions. Store some cash in a safe place in your house – you never know when you might need it.

Also ensure that all your important documents are in a secure, accessible location. Include proof of insurance, passports, birth certificates, asset titles, and personal ID. If a situation requires emergency evacuation, quick access to important documents will be essential. Be sure you and your family are ‘prepared to go’ at the first sign of an oncoming disaster.

How Safe are You?

Disaster Preparation Checklist

  • Water
  • Food
  • First Aid
  • Medicine
  • Environmental Protection Gear
  • Communication Needs
  • Tools
  • Cash
  • Critical Documents

Staying safe in a disaster comes down to how to prepare for an emergency in the first place. Taking a few simple steps can help you improve your security. Here’s a checklist for disaster preparation:

Make sure you have enough of each item to last you weeks, or even months. Consider the weight of each item and its container. A five-gallon jug of water, for example, weighs over 40 pounds. It’s easy to stockpile goods, but if their weight totals hundreds of pounds, they won’t do you much good if you have to evacuate quickly. It’s a good idea to set aside plenty of supplies that you would need if you stayed in your home, and also have a portable “go-bag” ready to take with you if you’re evacuated.

The go-bag should be easy to transport, like a backpack or lightweight suitcase with wheels. Every household member should have their own go-bag with basic electronics/battery packs, essential toiletries, first-aid kit, multipurpose tool, a few days’ worth of clothing, prescription medications, cash, bottled water, and portable food like granola bars. Make photocopies of each person’s birth certificate, driver’s license, Social Security and Medicare cards, marriage/adoption/ naturalization certificates, medical records, and credit/ATM card information. Put the copies in a waterproof zip-top plastic bag and keep them in the go-bag.

Since food and medical items have expiration dates, it’s a good idea to do an annual maintenance check-up of your emergency supplies and replace them as needed.


In today’s changing environment, the probability of disasters affecting your or your loved ones’ lives is increasing. Changes in weather patterns and increases in the global temperature average have resulted in freak storms and catastrophic natural disasters around the world.

Unforeseen emergencies, natural disasters, and financial challenges can arise at any stage of life. It’s important for households to prepare and plan for contingencies. Preparing adequately for disasters helps secure your household’s safety and financial future.

How to Prepare for an Emergency - Risk Management & Insurance

Activity: Disaster Preparedness

This activity provides an emergency checklist on how to prepare for an emergency, to prepare your household, and gauge its readiness to cope with a disaster.