The likelihood of you and your family surviving a house fire depends as much on having a working smoke detector and an exit strategy, as on a well-trained fire department. The same is true for surviving a natural disaster or other emergency. We must have the tools and plans in place to make it on our own, at least for a period of time, no matter where we are when disaster strikes.
Just like having a working smoke detector, preparing for the unexpected makes sense. Get a kit, make a plan and be informed.
Have a Plan
- Because disasters may be unexpected, it is important to have a family plan of action and communication to ensure that all household members are safe.
- Remember to keep a list of emergency contact numbers for your household members, nearby hospitals, first response agencies, and others.
- Visit Ready.Gov for a good resource on creating a Family Emergency Plan.
- Watch this brief video for an overview of how to create and test your Family Emergency Plan.
Build a Kit
- A disaster kit is a cache of basic supplies that you would need during a disaster. These supplies could be stored in a container or backpack in your home. It is good practice to keep a second disaster kit in your car or place of employment.
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends that you include three days of food and water. Depending on how remote your home is, you may want to prepare for longer.
- Make sure you include items that may be specific to other household members with special needs such as children, the elderly, pets, etc.
- In addition to items necessary for survival, consider including “morale boosting” items in case you are required to shelter in place for a few days. Examples could be crayons and coloring books or playing cards.
- Here are some links for building your own disaster kit.. Guidance may vary, so we encourage you to research and determine what fits your household needs and budget best.
- Maine Prepares
- 24 Week Kit Preparation (PDF)
- Watch our brief video on how to Build a Kit
Prepare your Home
- Check with your insurance provider to ensure that you have sufficient coverage for your home or rental property.
- Learn how and when to turn off the water, gas, and electricity in your home.
- Identify a place in your home that would suffice to shelter in place during a disaster.
- Determine escape routes from your home. Practice them. Determine a meeting spot.
- Consider purchasing a fire extinguisher, first aid kit, and a generator.
Be a Good Neighbor
- Get to know your neighbors, and identify those who may need additional assistance during a disaster.
- Check on your neighbors before, during, and after a disaster if it is safe and possible.
- Assist neighbors with identifying resources they may need during a disaster (transportation, meal services, medical assistance).
- Plan how your neighborhood could work together after a disaster.