No matter where you live in southern California, a natural disaster or emergency can happen at any time…whether you’re at work, on the road or at home.

Here are some initial steps to prepare your family emergency plan with general precautions that apply to many disaster situations. We have included other resources throughout this post to help you create the best plan for your family:

Develop a family communication plan.
Create a contact list of all phone numbers and email addresses for everyone in your house. This includes cell and work contact information for family members as well as schools, childcare providers, caregivers, employers, doctors and insurance companies. Make sure each member of your family has a printed copy of the communication plan. It’s also a good idea to keep family and emergency phone numbers, including your auto insurance provider and a towing company, in your phone.

Sign up for emergency alerts and warnings.
Contact your local governments for information on emergency alert systems.
For San Diego County: https://www.readysandiego.org/alertsandiego/
For Riverside County: https://rivcoemd.org/rivcoready/AlertRivCo

Create and maintain a home emergency supply kit.
Purchase a large plastic tub and store your home emergency kit in the garage or a hall closet. The home emergency supply kit should contain:

Food and Water
• Water: three-day supply, one gallon per person per day
• Food: Choose foods that don’t need to be refrigerated or cooked; high-protein such as energy bars, ready-to-eat soups, and peanut butter.
• Tools: utensils, can opener, napkins, multi-purpose tool, work gloves

Emergency Gear
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• First-aid kit
• Hand-crank or battery-powered radio with extra batteries to stay up to date on the latest weather alerts
• Plastic sheeting and duct tape in case of broken windows or a leaky roof
• Whistle in case you need to signal for help

Personal Items
• Medications: prescription and over-the-counter medications
• Clothing, shoes, and blanket
• Sanitary supplies: toilet paper, diapers, feminine supplies, garbage bags and personal-hygiene items (hand sanitizer, wipes, deodorant, etc.)
• Copies of important documents
• Cash and coins: ATMs/credit cards may not work if the power is out
• Family contact information
• Pet supplies (food, treats, medications, copies of prescriptions, etc.)
• Multi-purpose tool, such as a Leatherman, and work gloves
• Comfort items, such as toys, books, games, family photos

Create an emergency supply kit to keep in your car.
Since you never know where you will be when a natural or manmade disaster will strike, keep an emergency aid kit in your car trunk as well. Some things might already be in your car, but it’s good to double-check:

Food and water
• Bottled water
• Nonperishable, high-energy foods, such as unsalted nuts, dried fruits, granola bars and hard candy

Emergency gear
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• First aid kit
• Car cell phone charger
• properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench and tripod jack; tire repair kit; jumper cables, flares, and white distress flag
• Fire extinguisher

Personal Items
Supplies for different seasons: shovel, blanket, sunscreen, shade items, etc.

Check both your home and car emergency kits every six months and replace expired items as needed.

Here are a few other important notes from CPCMG:
• If your child takes any prescription medications, keep a list of the medications in the kit as well as the name and phone number of your pharmacy. We strongly recommend you create a MyChart account where your child’s prescriptions as well as medical history will be safety stored.
• Don’t forget to check with your employer, child’s school and daycare provider about their disaster plans. Keep a copy of their emergency plans in your emergency kit, and make sure you have their emergency line programmed on your phone.
• Be sure to store all important documents – driver’s licenses, social security cards, health insurance cards, birth certificates, insurance policies, passports, etc. – in a fire-proof box or safety deposit box. Consider taking photos of each document or scanning them for storage on a password-protected jump drive.
• Consider asking members of your family to attend a first aid or CPR class offered by the local American Red Cross.

As we mentioned earlier, this is just a glance at what you can do to prepare your family for an emergency. Please spend some time reviewing these state and federal web sites for more information:

Be Prepared California

California Office of Emergency Services

American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties