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Prepare your family for emergencies

Make an emergency plan

  • Have plans in place for what to do in various types of emergencies, such as cold weather, floods, hot weather, tornadoes, and power outages.
  • Keep in mind planning considerations for seniors and those with disabilities, chronic medical conditions, small children, infants and pets.
  • Think about your neighbors. Work together on your plans and think of who you can check on to make sure they are ok.
  • Identify places to meet—one outside your home in case of fire and another outside your neighborhood.
  • Know where and how to turn off utilities, such as water, gas and electricity.
  • Make sure your pets are part of your plan.

Develop a family communication plan

  • No matter your living situation, identify a family or friend contact person who lives outside of the area in case you cannot reach each other locally. Make sure everyone has this information.
  • Use communication plan templates for parents, kids and in Spanish.
  • Keep in mind text messages and social media platforms are the preferred communication means in an emergency as cell networks will be congested.

Get an emergency kit

Gather supplies for a kit or buy a kit.* Store supplies in a backpack or container and keep in a location that is easy to get to:

  • A three-day supply of water (one gallon per day per person)
  • Non-perishable food (include baby food or other nutritional supplements routinely used)
  • A first aid kit
  • Clothing and bedding
  • Battery-operated radio, flashlight, extra batteries
  • Candles, matches
  • Toiletries and extra medications (don’t forget diapers)
  • Games, books, cards, toys for children
  • Plastic garbage bags
  • Whistle to sign for help
  • Personal identification, medical information, and important contact information
  • Cash or travelers checks

* Note: Disaster Emergency Kits can be purchased through the Northern Minnesota Red Cross.

Be informed about what to do in an emergency

  • Learn more about what your community or county is doing to prepare for a public health emergency by talking with your local public health staff or the Emergency Manager.
  • Listen to the radio and television for current information and instructions.
  • Become trained as a volunteer in programs such as the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), Red Cross or Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

Additional information

For information on Emergency Preparedness, go to the Police Department's Emergency Management: Homeland Security page or the following websites:

Contact for more information

Amanda Lemke, MPH

Public Health Specialist – Emergency Preparedness

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