Emergency Preparedness


It’s best to make plans for any emergency since we can never plan when emergencies suddenly arise.

Explore this Guide:


That’s why you have to think ahead of time and prepare for potential emergencies now instead. That way, if an emergency does occur, you are ready.


There are many ways to be prepared for any emergency situation.


There are emergency back packs to pack and store, emergency food to buy and store in sealed bins, emergency contact lists to write, and emergency plans to form and practice.


Emergency Loans



Natural disasters aren’t the only type of emergency you’ll run into in life.


More commonly, you’ll run into financial emergencies where you need funds quickly to stay on top of payments, bills, and essential purchases.


At Check City you can get a number of different emergency personal loans to help you when finances are tight.


Here are a few of your emergency loan options at Check City:




How to Make an Emergency Evacuation Plan



You and your family should sit down together to form and practice an emergency evacuation plan.


You might need to evacuate in case of a fire, flood, or other natural disasters.


First, create a map of your home’s floor plan with a Free Evacuation Planner.


Second, get “go bags” for everyone in the household. You all might already have a backpack or duffel bag that each person can use.


Then each household member should make a list of everything they would grab and pack into their go bag at short notice. Keep this list somewhere you can easily find and refer to in case of a sudden emergency or keep it inside the go bag.


Some items to include in a go bag are:

  • Sentimental personal items you don’t want to lose
  • Medicines
  • Water
  • Flashlight
  • An extra set of clothing
  • A blanket
  • Tech like your phone, laptop, tablet
  • Wallet, ID, and emergency cash


If you have small children, you’ll also want to pack any important comfort items they might have.


If you have pets, you’ll want to pack their essentials like their harness, leash, a carrier, a toy, water, their pet food, and any medicines they might need.


Third, create an asset and valuables inventory of your home. This way, if something should happen to your house, you can easily work with your insurance to replace lost items.


Fourth, gather important documents into one safe place.


There are fire and flood safe boxes you can purchase online where you can keep all your important documents like birth certificates, social security cards, marriage licenses, emergency money, etc.


That way, you can just grab this box and take it with you in case of evacuation and all your important documents will be safe and preserved.


Fifth, create a step by step plan of what you all will do in case of an emergency.


Then post your step by step emergency plan somewhere everyone can see it, like the family bulletin board.


It’s also a good idea to practice the evacuation plan every now and then.


An example evacuation plan might look something like this:

  1. Pack go bags
  2. Pack go bags into the car
  3. Pack important documents into the car
  4. Pack extra food and water into the car
  5. Pack the household into the car and drive


How to Make an Emergency Fire Escape Plan



Escaping from a house fire is going to look different from evacuating your home.


Evacuating means you need to hurry, but you have a little time to pack bags and get into the car.


A house fire requires a much quicker, emergency fire escape plan.


As soon as the fire alarm goes off or a house fire is noticed, everyone in the household needs to get up and leave the building as quickly as possible and meet up somewhere outside at a safe distance.


First, make a map of your building. You can use the same free software mentioned above or Wondershare EdrawMax software.


Second, draw out your fire escape plans on the map.


Highlight all the possible, safe exits in the house. Then use color coded arrows to outline the routes people in each room should take to escape the house as quickly and safely as possible.


You should also make a marker on the map for where you will all meet up outside. This can be a landmark like a mailbox on the other side of the street.


If you have small children, pets, older adults, or anyone with mobility limitations make assignments for who will assist them with their exit route.


Make several assignments for instances when the first assigned assistant isn’t home during the fire.


For example, say you have an infant. The first person in charge of grabbing the infant might be mom, then dad, then the older daughter, depending on who is home at the time.


Third, run fire escape drills together.


Practice memorizing and exiting using the nearest exits in each room of the house.


You should also all practice proper fire safety protocol like:

  • Check if the doorknobs are hot before using that door to exit during a fire.
  • Check all fire alarms in the house to make sure they are visible on the wall and fully functioning with charged batteries.
  • Make sure there aren’t any problems or exit blocks with any of the exit points in the house.
  • Make sure your street number and house number are clear so that the fire department can easily find your house.
  • Have two exit routes planned for each room, including ground level windows.
  • Keep important documents in a fire safe box and keep digital back ups of important documents on the cloud.


Emergency Vet



No one ever wants something bad to happen to their pets, but you’ll find better peace of mind if you have an emergency plan ready.


Then, if tragedy does strike, you’ll be ready and know exactly what to do, who to call, and where to go instead of having to figure all of that out in the heat of the moment.


Think of emergency preparedness as studying for the tests of life.


Just like you don’t want to put off studying for an important test until the last minute, you want to study well in advance for the emergencies life can sometimes throw our way.


It’s also important to be able to recognize what constitutes a pet emergency.


Here are some instances when your pet might need an emergency vet:

  • Vomiting that won’t stop
  • Diarrhea that won’t stop
  • Blood in their vomit or stool
  • Seizures
  • Complete loss of appetite
  • Difficult breathing
  • Bloating
  • High fevers
  • They ate something they shouldn’t have
  • Attacked by another animal
  • Other injuries due to any accident


The first thing to do when looking to make all your emergency pet plans, is to talk to your usual vet. Ask them about the services they have for after-hour care or if you have an emergency situation.


If they don’t offer emergency vet services themselves, they probably know where you can go nearby instead.


There are also veterinary hospitals and emergency vet clinics that specialize in emergency, after-hour care.


Tips for making emergency vet plans:


Call the place first.


This gives them time to prepare for when you’re coming in and your specific situation.


Have an emergency budget for your pet.


Emergency medical treatment for your pet costs money. Have a pet emergency fund stowed away just for your pet so your funds are also prepared and your regular finances won’t have to take a hit.


You can also try getting pet insurance. Pet insurance can help cover the costs of regular vet bills and emergency care.


Have your pets medical records ready.


Makes both hard and digital copies of your pet’s medical records. Keep them in a folder on your phone, at the house, and in the car at all times.


That way, you won’t have to think about searching to find papers or remembering off hand at the emergency vet when your pet’s last vaccines were. All of that will be easy to just pull up on your phone or on-hand in your car’s glove compartment.


Keep a pet first aid kit in your car and in your house.


Even if its an emergency, you might still need to stabilize or bandage your pet before making the journey to the vet.


This can also help prepare you for minor scrapes your pet might get into that you can treat yourself in a pinch.


When traveling with your pet, make sure you look up where the vets are in the area you’re visiting and have a short contact list on hand in case something happens on your trip.


You should also become aware of how emergencies are handled during flights and in airports if you are flying with a pet.


Emergency Dentist



When an accident occurs with someone’s teeth it can be really hard not to panic.


All the more reason to have an emergency dentist plan prepared ahead of time.


A common myth is that no one needs an emergency dentist because tooth problems can always wait for your general dentist to schedule you an appointment.


This isn’t always true. Sometimes you’ll lose out on a chance to fix a tooth problem if you don’t visit an emergency dentist as soon as possible.


Tooth, mouth, and jaw problems can actually become more invasive, complicated, and expensive to fix the longer you wait to get to the dentist.


Even a dislodged tooth can sometimes be fixed completely if you get to your emergency dentist right away.


Don’t suffer with tooth, mouth, or jaw pain when solutions are available nearby.


Emergency Plumber



When a plumbing emergency occurs, you need the help of an expert right away.


The moment a pipe bursts and water starts geysering into your house is not the moment to sit down and schedule a visit from a plumber.


You need an emergency plumber number you know you can call to get fast results when serious plumbing problems arise.


Some instances when you need an emergency plumber might be:

  • Burst water pipe
  • Clogged toilet
  • Overflowing toilet or sink
  • Gas leaks
  • The water won’t turn on
  • The water won’t turn off
  • Flooding in your house


Another reason you need an emergency plumber’s phone number is because not all plumbers will be available for emergencies or after regular business hours.


This is why it’s a good idea to contact different plumbers now so you know which plumbers you can call and depend on in case of an emergency.


Emergency Care



Many people think that urgent care and emergency rooms are the same thing, but they’re actually different.


Emergency care or urgent care is medical care for when you need to see a doctor now, but your situation isn’t dire.


You might feel sick or have an injury that needs addressed as soon as possible, but doesn’t necessarily need to be treated immediately.


Urgent care is for when you need to see someone today, but you aren’t in mortal danger.


Likely, your local hospital will have an urgent care center.


Look up your insurance coverage or call your insurance provider to ask about where you can go for urgent care and still get insurance coverage.


Then, write down the phone number and address of your nearest urgent care location on your emergency contacts list.


You can even save this location in google maps as your designated urgent care location.


Emergency Room Near Me



On the other hand, the emergency room is for when you need to see a doctor immediately.


You need to go to an emergency room, rather than urgent care, when your situation is more serious.


Visit the ER when:

  • Difficult breathing
  • Chest pains
  • Slurred speech
  • Sudden change in mental state
  • Weakness in part of the body
  • Eye injuries
  • Burns
  • Head injuries
  • Dislocated joint
  • Broken bone
  • Fever paired with a rash
  • Seizures
  • If you’re pregnant
  • Severe illness
  • You need stitches


An emergency room is for when you have life threatening emergencies arise.


Have contact information and addresses ready for both urgent and emergency scenarios.


Also, have your medical records ready and a list of medicines you’ve taken or regularly take listed and stored somewhere on your phone.


You should also include how much of each medication you’re taking, how often you take each medication, whether you’ve gone through surgeries or procedures they might need to know about, and medical history things in your family.


It’s a good idea to have all of these items written down for each household member just in case you come across a scenario where someone can’t speak to the doctors themselves.


Nonemergency Police



Many of us know about 911 and that you can call this emergency line when you need to.


But did you know that there is also a nonemergency police line you can call too?


You want to call 911 when there is a pressing emergency.


You want to call the nonemergency police number when:

  • You want to make a general call
  • Nonviolent disputes
  • Property damage
  • Vehicle accidents where no one is hurt and traffic isn’t being obstructed
  • Noise complaints
  • Leash law violations
  • Littering or illegal dumping
  • Follow up on a previous report


Basically, you want to call the nonemergency police line when there is nothing violent going on that jeopardizes anyone’s safety.


Many cities use the phone number 311 as a nonemergency line. Find out what your cities nonemergency line is and save it in your phone as the “nonemergency police number.”


Emergency Food Supply



Having an emergency food supply is a really good idea for many reasons.


By having a fully stocked pantry and food storage, you can be ready for anything.


If there is a stay-at-home order you can easily oblige. If you get snowed in or if there’s a long storm you can comfortably wait it out in your house.


By learning to keep a stocked pantry you can also save money in the long term by buying groceries in bulk and cooking healthier, cheaper, homemade meals.


Here’s a master list of food storage you need stocked up in case of emergency:

  • Distilled water
  • Seltzer water
  • Canned foods (meats, fruits, vegetables, evaporated milk, condensed milk, coconut milk)
  • Powdered milk
  • Powdered whey
  • Powdered eggs
  • Dehydrated foods (meats, fruits, raisins, etc.)
  • Waxed, hard cheeses
  • Protein bars, drinks, and powders
  • Seasonings, herbs, salt, pepper
  • Yeast
  • Beans
  • Rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Cream of wheat
  • Cereals
  • Cornmeal
  • Cornstarch
  • Flour
  • Sugars (white, brown)
  • Molasses
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Vinegar
  • Maple syrup
  • Coffee
  • Oils (butter, lard, shortening, olive oil, vegetable oil, etc.)
  • Bouillon cubes
  • Other useful baking mixes (pancake mix, cornbread mix, gravy, instant mashed potatoes, etc.)
  • Seeds (vegetables, potatoes, etc.)
  • Popcorn kernels
  • Pastas
  • Jams and jellies
  • Pickled foods
  • Honey
  • Vitamin supplements


Make sure you keep all your food storage in airtight containers and store them in a safe, dry place.


You should also be constantly cycling through your food storage so that your food storage items stay up to date.


Emergency Medicine



Medicine has a general shelf life of about 12 to 60 months.


Because of this, you can only really keep a medicine supply in the house for a year or 2. More than that and your medicine supply will start losing its effectiveness and potentially be harmful to consume.


Use and update your medicine cabinet accordingly. Don’t let any items get too out of date.

Here’s a list for all the basics you want in your medicine cabinet at all times:

  • Pain reliever
  • Antihistamines
  • Anti-itch ointment
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Antacids
  • Aspirin
  • Moleskins for burns and blisters
  • Decongestants
  • Thermometer
  • Cough drops
  • Eyedrops
  • Allergy medicine
  • Laxatives
  • Antiseptic
  • Aloe Vera gel
  • Sunscreen
  • Antifungal cream


Emergency Light



In the case of a power outage, you’ll need to do something for light.


Have some plain candles and matches for when you need light in an emergency.


Get flashlights too and keep them throughout the house in case of a power outage. Don’t forget to keep extra batteries for the flashlights around.


It’s also a good idea to get some lanterns that you can then set up in the house should you be without light for a while.


Emergency Alert



There are many ways to stay alerted to any and all emergencies.


Smoke detectors throughout the house will let you know if a house fire breaks out.


Using a dependable weather reporting apps can keep you posted about wildfires, earthquakes, and storms in your area.


You can set up your house with a home security system to alert you of break ins and trespassers.


There are also emergency alert devices you can carry around with you in case you run into trouble and need to call for help.


Some emergency alert devices are specifically designed as medical alerts for the elderly or for people with specific medical conditions.


You can find some of the best emergency medical alerts at ConsumerAdvocate.org.


Emergency Kit



You should keep an emergency kit in your house, in your car, and in any purse, bag, or backpack you carry around with you during the day.


You should also always travel, hike, and bike with an emergency kit on hand, just in case.


A basic emergency kit contains the following items:

  • Water
  • Food
  • Radio
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle
  • Duct tape
  • Maps
  • Backup cell phone
  • Sanitizer
  • Matches


Car Emergency Kit



You need to have a roadside emergency kit in your car at all times.


A car emergency kit can help you if your car breaks down, if you get stranded somewhere, if you get into an accident, or if you get caught in dangerous weather conditions.


Pack your car emergency kit with items that will help you and help your car.


A good car emergency kit includes:

  • Spare tire
  • Tire changing kit
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Cat litter
  • Tow chain
  • Shovel
  • Reflective tape, triangles, or glow sticks
  • Car emergency escape tool and plan
  • Car tool kit
  • Antifreeze
  • Jumper cables
  • Brake fluid
  • Power steering/transmission fluid
  • Electric fuses
  • Extra fuel
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Swiss army knife
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Rope
  • Rain poncho/umbrella
  • Whistle
  • Flares
  • First aid kit
  • Food
  • Water
  • Blankets
  • Gloves
  • Spare coats or jackets
  • Tissues
  • Wipes
  • Hand sanitizer


Get your emergency kits packed into two containers.


One bin can hold all the emergency items you might need for the car while a backpack can hold all the emergency supplies you might need.


A winter emergency kit needs to include some additional items.


Have a separate emergency kit prepared for when winter comes around.


You’ll want to keep the following additional items in your winter emergency car kit:

  • Shovel
  • Windshield ice scraper
  • Tow rope
  • Window breaker
  • Seatbelt cutter
  • Blankets
  • Hand warmers
  • Wireless phone chargers


Emergency Survival Kit



A survival kit is necessary in cases where you might have to survive in the wild for a few days.


You might have to use a survival kit if your car breaks down and you get stranded in the middle of nowhere, or if you’re hiking and fall, get injured, or get lost.


Here are some of the things you should keep in a basic emergency survival kit:

  • Water
  • Food
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries
  • Radio
  • First aid kit
  • Medications
  • Swiss army knife
  • Sanitizer
  • Matches
  • Emergency documents like medical records and contact list
  • Blanket
  • Tarp
  • Map
  • Compass
  • Flares
  • Whistle
  • Rain poncho


Emergency Medical Kit



To prepare for a medical emergency you want to be as ready as you can for anything.


This includes burns, cuts, scrapes, bug bites and stings, splinters, sprains, pulled muscles, dislocated joints, and broken bones.


You also want to be prepared for illnesses like fevers, vomiting, diarrhea, nasal congestion, coughing, sore throats, pain, rashes, and allergies.


Keep your medicine cabinet and a medical kit you can quickly take on the go stocked with the basics.


Don’t forget to keep an emergency contact list and important medical information on a sheet of paper in your emergency medical kit.

  • Bandages
  • Bandage tape
  • Plastic gloves
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Arm sling
  • Mini print outs for basic medical instructions like CPR
  • Tweezers
  • Small flashlight
  • Thermometer
  • Antibiotic cream or gel (like Neosporin)
  • Anti-itch ointment
  • Antihistamines (like Benadryl)
  • Pain killers (like Tylenol)
  • Antacids (like Pepto-Bismol)
  • Aspirin
  • Moleskin for burns and blisters


Earthquake Emergency Kit



Earthquakes aren’t common everywhere, but if you live where earthquakes are common, you should be prepared.


There are ways you can prepare for during the earthquake and afterward as well.


Install earthquake furniture anchors and straps in your home to keep furniture from toppling over and breaking things during an earthquake.


Be prepared for the duration of an earthquake by having an earthquake safety plan set up for what you’ll do in case of an earthquake.


Pick a designated safety spot in each room of your house. This spot should be under a table, under an archway where nothing can fall on you, or against an interior house wall that doesn’t face windows or anything that could fall on you.


The main thing you want in your safe spot in each room is to be able to take cover so nothing falls on you during the earthquake.


If you have pets, small children, or anyone that might need assistance during an earthquake, practice your safety plan with them and assign someone in the house to be in charge of looking out for them.


Practice what to do during an earthquake in all kinds of scenarios. Have a plan for what to do if you’re outside, in the kitchen, or in the car when it happens.


At home you can have a spot you know you can go to for cover, in the car, know you should slow down, stay in your car, and make sure you’re in a clear area where trees, buildings, or powerlines can’t fall on you.


Keep earthquake hazards to a minimum in your house by bolting tall furniture to the floor and walls and making sure the latches on all cupboards are strong and won’t open easily.


After an earthquake, check yourself and everyone else for injuries and treat anyone that needs it.


Check the house to put out any fires that might have broken out because of the earthquake. For example, a candle might have fallen off the end table.


Make sure the gas in the house is turned off and fix any potential fire or exit hazards the earthquake might have created.


Turn on the radio or local news to stay updated on what’s happening. They will be able to keep you posted on whether more tremors are coming and have instructions on what you can do.


You should also try and keep the emergency lines open for life threatening emergencies only.


If your house is no longer safe to stay in after the earthquake then you should get everyone out of the house immediately, and have an emergency housing plan set.


Talk with family members in and out of state about your emergency plan so you know where you can go in case you have to leave your house due to an earthquake.


In this case, you’ll want to enact your evacuation plan.


Hurricane Emergency Kit



Hurricanes are another natural phenomenon that can sometimes cause emergency situations.


Create a survival kit for your family that can last you at least 72 hours in case of a natural disaster.


The food you pack in a hurricane survival kit need to be able to last you at least 3 days. You also want this food to be non-perishable and not require preparation, heating, or refrigerating.

  • Non-perishable foods
  • Water
  • First aid kit
  • Toiletries
  • Feminine supplies
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Bedding
  • Clothes
  • Rain gear
  • Sturdy shoes
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Emergency cash
  • Tool set
  • Tent
  • Matches or a lighter
  • Hand warmers


Tornado Emergency Kit



For people who live in tornado zones, you should be familiar with the National Weather Service (NWS) and when they issue tornado warnings or a tornado watch.


If your community is already familiar with tornados, then they probably have a text alert or siren system set up to let you know when tornado storms are developing.


Have a designated tornado shelter set in place for you and your family to use in case of a tornado.


A good tornado shelter is usually in a basement, storm cellar, or an interior room in the house that doesn’t have windows like a closet or bathroom.


Teach everyone in the household what to do in case of a tornado and where they should go for shelter. Practice running tornado drills so everyone is sure they know what to do.


You can also prepare in advance for tornados by reinforcing your home. Reinforce your house with storm windows, storm doors, and a secured foundation.


If your house doesn’t have a basement, you can install a storm cellar near your house.


Tornados can be devastating.


Fit your storm cellar or basement so that it’s prepared to keep you safe and sheltered for a matter of days. Be prepared for the light and utilities to potentially go out during the storm.

  • Nonperishable food that doesn’t need preparation
  • Water
  • Masks to protect you from dust
  • First aid kits
  • Medicines
  • Emergency toilet
  • Toilet paper
  • Wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Bedding
  • Clothes
  • Radio
  • Battery-operated Lights


72 Hour Emergency Kit



72 hour emergency kits are kits that you pack now and have ready in case of an emergency.


A 72 hour kit is meant to help you survive for at least 3 days. So everything you put into it should keep this in mind.


Think of it like packing for a 3 day sleepover in the wilderness. With this mentality, you’ll be able to pack your 72 hour kit with everything you could ever need in case of disaster.

  • Nonperishable foods
  • Water
  • Fresh clothes
  • Sturdy shoes
  • First aid kit
  • Medications
  • Sleeping bag
  • Tent
  • Fire starters
  • Flashlights
  • Extra batteries
  • Radio
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Shovel
  • Tool kit
  • Swiss army knife
  • Rain gear
  • Duct tape
  • Tarp
  • Rope
  • Solar power pack
  • Whistle


Read more about emergency funds and why you need one in “Why You Need an Emergency Fund” and “The Importance of an Emergency Fund.”


Planning for emergencies doesn’t mean you are living in fear.


Being prepared for emergencies helps give you peace of mind now and makes hard situations a lot easier on you later.


A house fire, for instance, can be devastating, but if you already had a fire safety plan in place than you and your household can be safe and mitigate now to decrease losses later.


You should financially prepare for emergencies too!


Prepare for any financial emergency by creating and maintaining a healthy emergency fund.



Dental Brothers. “7 Reasons Why You May Need an Emergency Dentist Appointment.”

Viral Rang. “Urgent Care Vs. Emergency Room: Your Guide for Which to Use,” by Mohamed Ibrahim.

Ready.gov. “Build A Kit.”

Advance Survival. “Car Emergency Kit: A Detailed Checklist for Basic, Advance and Pro Car Survival Kits,” by Edward Mark Johnson.

RedCross.org. “Survival Kit Supplies: Is Your Emergency Preparedness Kit Ready?”

CDC.gov. “Emergency Supplies for Earthquake Preparedness.”

VCFD.org. “Earthquake Preparedness.”

E Medicine Health. “First Aid Kits – 33 Essentials to Prepare for Emergencies,” by Ron Fuerst and Charles Patrick Davis.

National Weather Service.


written by Kimber Severance, Check City Copywriter

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