How to Prepare for an Emergency

Family Emergency Preparedness Guide

Find out what could happen to you


Potential Disasters that may impact our city

Contact your local emergency management or civil defense office and American Red Cross chapter - be prepared to take notes: Ask what types of disasters are most likely to happen. Request information on how to prepare for each. Learn about your community's warning signals: what they sound like and what you should do when you hear them. Ask about animal care after disaster. Animals may not be allowed inside emergency shelters due to health regulations. Find out how to help elderly or disabled persons, if needed. Next, find out about the disaster plans at your workplace, your children's school or daycare center and other places where your family spends time.

Our Community's Warning Signals

During a disaster citizens will be instructed to tune into the radio and/or television.  The City of Mesa has access to the local cable system in Mesa.  Mesa is able to interrupt local cable broadcast's to deliver an emergency alert, as needed.


Create a Disaster Plan

 Meet with your family and discuss why you need to prepare for disaster. Explain the dangers of fire, severe weather and earthquakes to children. Plan to share responsibilities and work together as a team. Discuss the types of disasters that are most likely to happen. Explain what to do in each case.

Pick two places to meet: 

  • Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire.
  • Outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home. 
  • 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. 
  • Discuss what to do in an evacuation. 
  • Plan how to take care of your pets. 
  • Everyone must know the address and phone number.

Complete This Checklist

  • Post emergency telephone numbers by phones (fire, police, ambulance, etc.).
  •  Teach children how and when to call 911 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.
  • Check if you have adequate insurance coverage.
  • 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.

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. 
  • Change batteries once each year.

Emergency Supplies:

Keep enough supplies in your home to meet your needs for at least three days. Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit with items you may need in an evacuation. (A workplace supplies kit is also recommended).  Store these supplies in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers such as backpacks, duffle bags or covered trash containers. 


  • A three-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day) and food that won't spoil.  One change of clothing and footwear per person, and one blanket or sleeping bag per person. 
  • A first aid kit that includes your family's prescription medications. 
  • Emergency tools including a battery-powered radio, flashlight and plenty of extra batteries. 
  • An extra set of car keys and a credit card, cash or traveler's checks. 
  • Sanitation supplies. 
  • Special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members. 
  • An extra pair of glasses. 
  • Keep important family documents in a waterproof container. Keep a smaller kit in the truck of your car.

Emergency Vehicle Kit:

  • Battery powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries 
  • Blankets 
  • Booster cables 
  • Fire extinguisher (5lb. ABC type) 
  • First aid kit 
  • Bottled water and non-perishable high energy food 
  • Maps, shovel, flares  Tire repair kit and pump 


If Disaster Strikes:

Remain calm and patient. Put your plan into action. 

Check for injuries: 

Give first aid and get help for seriously injured people. 

Listen to your battery powered radio for news and instructions:

Evacuate, if advised to do so and invoke your Family Communications Plan. Wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes.

Check for damage in your home:

  • Use flashlights - do not light matches or turn on electrical switches, if you suspect damage. 
  • Check for fires, fire hazards and other household hazards. 
  • Sniff for gas leaks, starting at the water heater. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open windows, and get everyone outside quickly. 
  • Shut off any other damaged utilities. 
  • Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline and other flammable liquids immediately. 

Remember to:

  • Confine or secure your pets
  • Call your family contact-do not use the telephone again unless it is a life-threatening emergency. 
  • Check on your neighbors, especially elderly or disabled persons. 
  • Make sure you have an adequate water supply in case service is cut off. 
  • Stay away from downed power lines.