Disaster preparedness is everyone’s responsibility.  September is National Preparedness Month which serves as a reminder that we must prepare for emergencies that may impact us at home, work and school.  Now is the time to begin preparing for all types of disasters that may impact you – not just earthquakes.

1. Develop an emergency plan with your family

You may be separated from your family during an emergency.  Making a communication plan ensures that your family knows what actions to take after a disaster.  Only 44% of families in earthquake-prone areas have a plan to communicate after a disaster.
  • Your plan should include who your family should call or text after a disaster, including an out of state contact.
    • SMS Texting has a better chance of connecting you to family members when telecommunications are saturated.
  • Consider that your entire family may not be together during a disaster- make a plan of how you will reunite after an emergency.
    • Identify where your family should meet after a disaster.
    • Have designated meeting places near common places which may include school, work, and home.
  • Don’t just write the plan - talk with your family about the plan and train on it twice a year!
    • A good time to train on your plan is when you set your clocks to “Spring Forward” or “Fall Back”
2. Plan with your neighbors

Neighbors are likely to rely on each other during a disaster.  Neighborhood preparedness is a great way to increase community resilience.  Only 50% of people have seen or heard preparedness information; use this opportunity to provide your neighbors with this important information.
  • Talk with your neighbors about individual preparedness.
  • Identify neighbors who may need assistance during a disaster including those with disabilities and others with access and functional needs.
  • Identify hazards in your home and neighborhood.
  • Develop a plan to mitigate hazards.
  • Volunteer or join a CERT Team.
  • Participate in a disaster preparedness drill through CERT or your local emergency management agency.
3. Build a personal preparedness kit

A preparedness kit is an essential part of individual preparedness that ensures you and your family are self-sufficient for at least 72 hours.
  • Participate in the UCLA Health One Year Preparedness Challenge
  • Be aware of specific needs you may have if an emergency strikes. This could include medication, power needs, eye classes, devices that you may count on, pet needs, etc.
  • Consider individuals with disabilities or access and functional needs with planning for emergencies.
  • Prepare for your pets’ needs too.
4. Sign up for emergency notifications

Knowing where to get emergency notifications can provide you important time to evacuate an area, whether you should shelter in place, or where to go for more information.  Just over 50% of people know how to receive real-time alerts and warnings about potential emergencies and disasters.
  • Download the FEMA app or Red Cross App for disaster resources, weather alerts, shelter information, and safety tips.
  • Sign-up to receive text or e-mail alerts about emergencies from your local Emergency Management Agency.
    • LA County Emergency Alert System - Alert LA
    • City of Los Angeles Emergency Alert System - Notify LA
    • City of Santa Monica Emergency Alert System - SM Alerts
    • Ventura County
    • Orange County
    • San Bernardino
  • Keep a radio & extra batteries handy to listen for info from local officials if you lose power.
  • Sign-up for notifications from local agencies if you are traveling outside the area. This can provide you important information for hazards you may not face at home.
For more tips on emergency planning and how to prepare visit http://www.uclahealth.org/emergency.