Preparedness 101

What Can I Do to Properly Prepare for a Disaster?

  • Stay up to date: periodically check,, or the local weather stations.
  • Know which hazard will most likely occur in which season. (i.e., hurricane season is between June 1- November 30)
  • Build a Disaster Preparedness Kit: The kit should include three days worth of supplies for each person in your family
  • Design an emergency response plan
  • Practice your emergency response plan
  • Decide whether to stay home or evacuate

What Goes into a Disaster Preparedness Kit?

  • Three day supply of water and non-perishable food
  • Three day supply of pet food and water
  • Medication
  • Important documents (birth certificates, social security cards, insurance documents, bank information)
  • Extra cash
  • Blanket
  • Matches
  • Hygiene Items
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Entertainment for the kids
  • Kennel for the pet
  • Back-up cell phone battery
  • First aid-kit
  • N-95 Mask
  • Can Opener
  • Map flashlight and extra batteries
  • Radio
  • Utility Knife

How Do I Design an Emergency Response Plan?

To ensure the safety and the wellbeing of your family, the most important thing to do is build a plan. You can do so by following these easy steps:

  • Identify evacuation routes
  • Include at least two meeting places, one outside your home and one outside the impacted area.
  • Establish a family contact in and out of state to inform if and when you decide to evacuate.
  • Please make a list of emergency contacts of all family members living in the household and their contact information.
  • Determine the best routes to escape from your home in the case of a fire or some other form of blockage preventing you from escaping.
  • Find safe spots in or near your home for every type of disaster.
  • If you have children in the home, you can make this a scavenger hunt to make sure they play a crucial role in understanding these plan components.
  • Include a copy of everyone’s identification cards, birth certificates, Social Security cards, and all medical information.
  • Include a copy of all insurance papers (health, car, house, and things of value) periodically to confirm your coverage and records.
  • If you have pets, make a list of all pet information: name, medicine, vet, and other vital information.

Be sure to practice your plan with your family to ensure they know how to follow the plan in its entirety. 

Stay Home

If the community is not under a mandatory evacuation and you decide to stay at home make sure to do the following.

  1. Pre-stock cabinets with at least a three day (per person) disaster ready supply of water, canned goods, and toilet paper.
  2. Fill all cars with a full tank of gas, fill all bath tubs and other big containers with extra water which can be used for cooking, flushing the toilet, and minor cleanups.
  3. Fasten down all loose material in and around the home, board up and seal all windows and holes to the outside of the home.
  4. Keep an ax in your attic in case you need to escape.


If the community is under a mandatory evacuation or you choose to evacuate anyways make sure to do the following:

  1. Prefill all cars with gas.
  2. Bring a completed disaster supply kit for each person traveling.
  3. Clean out the refrigerator and the freezer so when you return you are not faced with mold etc in the case of electricity failure.
  4. Turn off all utilities (this avoids power surges and leaks).
  5. Unplug all appliances except the refrigerator/freezer.
  6. Pick up all valuable items off of the floor.
  7. Update neighbors and family members of your travel.

Check out our preparedness blogs to learn more about how to protect you and your family from a disaster!

Data Source:

Ascension Parish Emergency Preparedness Guide. Vol. 1. Gonzales: OHSEP, n.d. Print.

FEMA. (2014). “Talking Points.” America’s PrepareAthon! Talking Points and Statistics(n.d.): n. pag. 5 Web. 23 July 2016.

“Natural Disasters.” Department of Homeland Security, n.d. Web. 05 July 2016.

Homeowners Handbook to Prepare for Natural Disasters. 2014 ed. Vol. March. Baton Rouge: Louisiana Sea Grant, 2014. Print. Ser. 3.

O’Keefe, P., and Westgate, K. (1977). Preventive planning for disasters. Long Range Planning, 10(3), 25-29.

“Preparing for a Disaster.” International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. IFRC, n.d. Web. 24 July 2016.

Shi, P. (2019). Hazards, Disasters, and Risks. Disaster Risk Science. 2019 : 1–48.

Van Zandt, S., Peacock, W. G., Henry, D. W., Grover, H., Highfield, W. E., & Brody, S. D. (2012). Mapping social vulnerability to enhance housing and neighborhood resilience. Housing Policy Debate, 22(1), 29-55.