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Family Disaster Plan and Personal Survival Guide

(courtesy of the American Red Cross)

There are many different kinds of disasters. Earthquakes, floods, fires, airplane crashes, chemical spills, pipeline leaks and explosions, and others, small and large, which seldom give warning and are always equally devastating to their victims. This guide is primarily geared to earthquakes, but the planning you and your family do now will be of benefit when and if any disaster strikes you.

(This entire form can be downloaded in the format of your choice. See the bottom of the page for instructions)


Family Meetings: At least once a year have a meeting with your family to discuss and update your plan and determine what training, equipment and supplies are needed. Occasional drills will assure quick reaction and avoid injury and panic in an emergency. Share your plans with neighbors, friends, relatives and coworkers.


  • Learn how to protect yourselves from falling objects, smoke, fire, caustic fumes, etc.
  • Learn first aid (available through your American Red Cross Chapter)
  • Learn who and where to shut of utilities
  • Draw a Plan of your home

    On a separate piece of paper draw a floor plan of your home showing the location of exit windows, doors, utility cutoffs, first aid kit, emergency supplies, food, clothing, tools, etc. Be sure everyone in your household is familiar with it. Show it to babysitters and house guests when you're going to be away. They could use it to direct someone to a utility cutoff in an emergency.

  • Alternate places to meet around home
  • Alternate reunion locations when family is not at home, e.g. home, Red Cross shelter, neighbor, relative, park, school.
  • Name and telephone number of person outside area for family member to call to report location and condition.
  • Learn and discuss school disaster policy. Church? Club? Are medical consent forms complete?
  • Where are emergency supplies and equipment located?

Inspect your Home

  • American Red Cross Disaster Relief Services.
  • Install clips, latches and other locking devices on cabinet doors.
  • Move heavy items to lower shelves.
  • Provide strong support and flexible connections on gas appliances.
  • Remove or isolate flammable materials.
  • Secure water heater, refrigerator, tall and heavy furniture to wall studs.

Red Cross disaster assistance may be in the form of feeding stations, clothing, shelter, cleaning supplies, comfort kits, first aid, or the provision of other basic needs. The Red Cross supplies blood and handles welfare inquiries, and as soon as possible helps with the most urgent needs to enable families to resume living as a unit. Given on the basis of verified need, help may include funds for food, clothing, housing, fuel, cooking and eating utensils, bed and bedding, cleaning supplies, linens, rent, necessary furniture, medical and health care, prescription drugs, prosthetic devices, eyeglasses, personal occupational supplies and equipment, transportation, and minor home repairs.

All Red Cross help to disaster victims is an outright gift. No repayment is required or requested. All funds used by the Red Cross for this purpose are voluntarily donated by the American people.

Red Cross disaster services are carried out by trained volunteers, supported by a few paid staff. Your local chapter needs your help. Why not call or come in soon to find out how you can become a Red Cross volunteer.

Home Emergency Supplies

The list consists of items usually available in a home and used regularly. It is designed to help your family identify and organize them for any emergency. Quantities of emergency supplies should be adequate for at least 48 hours.

A 2 week supply is recommended as a minimum reserve of water, food, medicine and other consumable items.


  • Blankets or sleeping bag for each member of family.
  • Essential medication and glasses as required.
  • Escape ladder for second story bedrooms.
  • Essential medication and glasses as required.
  • First Aid Kit ample and freshly stocked.
  • Fire Extinguisher dry chemical, type ABC.
  • Flashlight fresh and spare batteries and bulb.
  • Food- canned or precooked and requiring minimum heat and water. Consider special diets, such as for infants or elderly.
  • Food for pets.
  • Spare batteries
  • Food- canned or precooked and requiring minimum heat and water. Consider special diets, such as for infants or elderly.
  • Food for pets.
  • Money.
  • Radio portable, battery operated.
  • Water - 2 quarts to 1 gallon per person per day.
  • Watch or clock battery or spring wound.

Sanitation Supplies

  • Deodorant.
  • Dentures.
  • Feminine supplies.
  • Ground cloth.
  • Hand soap.
  • Household bleach.
  • Infant supplies.
  • Large plastic trash bags for trash, waste, water protection.
  • Liquid detergent.
  • Large trash cans.
  • Newspapers to wrap garbage and waste. Can also be used for warmth.
  • Toilet paper.
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush.


  • Candles.
  • Clothes complete change kept dry.
  • Garden hose for siphoning and fire fighting.
  • Heavy shoes for very family member.
  • Heavy gloves for every person clearing debris.
  • Hat or cap protection from sun, rain & cold.
  • Matches dipped in wax and kept in waterproof container.
  • Sharp knife or razor blades.


  • Barbecue hibachi, camp stove, or Sterno stove.
  • Fuel for cooking equipment charcoal, lighter fluid, Sterno.
  • Pots and heavy duty aluminum foil.
  • Paper plates.
  • Plastic knives, forks, spoons.
  • Paper towels.


  • Axe, shovel, broom.
  • Crescent wrench for turning off gas main.
  • Coil of 1/2" rope.
  • Coil of baling wire.
  • Plastic tape, Pen and Paper.
  • Screw driver, pliers, hammer.

Car Mini Survival Kit

  • Bottled water.
  • Blanket or sleeping bag.
  • Extra clothes jeans, sweater.
  • Essential medications.
  • First aid kit and book.
  • Fire extinguisher.
  • Flares.
  • Flashlight with spare batteries and bulbs.
  • Local maps.
  • Non perishable food store in empty coffee cans.
  • Pre-moistened towelettes.
  • Sturdy shoes.
  • Short rubber hose for siphoning.
  • Sealable plastic bags.
  • Small package of tissue.
  • Tools screw driver, pliers, wire, knife.

Water Tips

To purify drinking water use any of the following methods:

  • Add 10 drops of household bleach solution per gallon of water, mix well and let stand for 30 minutes.
  • A slight smell or taste of chlorine indicates water is good to drink.
  • Add household tincture of iodine in the same manner as bleach above.
  • Boil for 5-10 minutes.
  • Learn how to remove the water in the hot water heater and other water supplies.
  • Use commercial purification tablets such as Halazone or Globaline. Follow package instructions.

Important Telephone Numbers

  • Electric Co.
  • Emergency Medical
  • Fire Dept.
  • Gas Co.
  • Police Dept.
  • Physician
  • Water Co.

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