Prepare for Disasters and Emergencies

Find information you need to be ready to handle a disaster or emergency.

Be Ready for Disasters and Emergencies with Ready.gov

Emergencies and natural disasters can happen anytime, disrupting your life and putting you and your loved ones in danger. But there are things you can do now so you'll know what to do later. 

Ready.gov is filled with information to help you prepare for and respond to a natural disaster or emergency, including:

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Home Fire Safety

On average, every three hours, someone in the United States dies from a fire. Learn ways to prevent a fire in your home and teach everyone in your family what to do if your home is on fire.

High Risk Factors

  • Cooking causes the most fires, while smoking leads to the most deaths.
  • Young children and the elderly are in the most danger from fire deaths.
  • Night is the deadliest time for fires. Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to alert you to problems while you sleep.
  • Alcohol use contributes to 40% of fire deaths because of accidents, heavier sleeping, and bad judgment.​

Prevent Home Fires

Get the basics from Ready.gov on preventing fires in your home, and learn about specific fire hazards:

Cooking 

Heating and Other Dangers

Survive a Fire in Your Home

  • Working smoke alarms cut your chance of dying in a home fire in half. Find out how to correctly use smoke alarms.
  • Make an escape plan and practice it. During a fire, you might not be able to see or breathe, which means you’ll need a plan you can follow quickly and with your eyes closed.
  • Smoke and other toxic gases kill far more often than heat. These gases disorient before they kill, so get out fast.
  • Learn more about what to do after a fire. 

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Natural Disasters

Natural disasters are sudden environmental events that have catastrophic consequences, such as loss of life and property damage, including hurricanes, tornados, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, and forest fires.

Learn how to recognize hazards and what to do to protect yourself and your family at Ready.gov’s Natural Disasters website.

Visit the following links for additional information:

Consider using the Federal Emergency Management Agency's free mobile application, Weather the Storm. FEMA's app offers weather alerts, shelter locater, safety tips and information on applying for federal assistance after a disaster. The weather alerts do not replace Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) function available on many new smartphones. 

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Prepare for an Evacuation

Sometimes communities or individuals must leave their homes because of dangerous weather, fire, chemical accidents, or other emergency situations. Local officials may decide that hazards are serious enough to require evacuations.  

Learn how to prepare yourself and your family for an evacuation, and why a disaster supplies kit is important. 

  • Plan how you will get away, and anticipate where you will go. Choose several destinations in different directions so you have options in an emergency. Ask about evacuation plans at the places where you spend time, including work, school, or other places you frequent.
  • Be on the alert for evacuation information from local governments through television, radio, or internet news, as well as through text messages, telephone calls, or warning sirens.
  • Learn how people with particular concerns can prepare for an evacuation:

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Radiation Exposure and Emergencies

Radioactive contamination and radiation exposure can occur if radioactive materials are released into the environment as the result of an accident, an event in nature, or an act of terrorism. Such a release could expose people and contaminate their surroundings and personal property.

Radiation Emergencies call the National Response Center's hotline at 1-800-424-8802 to report radiation emergencies.

For more information, visit the following links:

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Severe Weather Warnings

View the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) severe weather forecasts, warnings, and updates on various forms of hazardous weather:

General information on preparing for severe weather is also available.

Another option for weather alerts, consider the FEMA mobile application, Weather the Storm. The app can give you alerts from the National Weather Service, plus other information such as safety reminders, locate open shelters and share your disaster photos with first responders. The FEMA app does not replace Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) function available on many new smartphones. 

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Last Updated: February 16, 2017

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