How to prepare for an emergency

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Know Your Risks. Make Your Plan. Improve Your Outcome. Prepare for emergencies before the crisis or disaster impacts your family or the community. You can start by learning about the hazards most likely to affect your community.

FEMA: Ready Campaign’s “Prepare to Protect” PSA | The Best Planner

Sign up for emergency alerts

Not all emergency alerts provide the same information so it’s important to understand the types of alerts out there and what they provide. 

Local emergency alerts

Peak Alerts: These local alerts inform you about situations such as man-made disasters, hazardous materials incidents, missing persons, crime, or neighborhood/business evacuation notifications. You can sign-up for up to five locations (for example: your home, work, school) and choose to receive them by phone call, text, or email. You must sign up in order to receive these alerts. 

Sign-up for Peak Alerts

Wireless emergency alerts

Wireless Emergency Alerts: These alerts are sent to you via a mobile device. They can be sent by state and local public safety officials, the National Weather Service*, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the President of the United States. There are three alert categories: imminent threat, AMBER, and presidential. You do not need to sign up for this service. WEA allows government officials to send emergency alerts to all subscribers with WEA-capable devices if their wireless carrier participates in the program. You do need to make sure your mobile device has the alerts settings turned on.

*Severe weather warnings sent through WEA include: tsunami, tornado, flash flood, hurricane, typhoon, dust storm, and extreme wind. They DO NOT INCLUDE severe thunderstorm warnings. Severe thunderstorms can produce dangerous hail.

FEMA app

FEMA App: This app allows you to receive real-time alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations (counties). You’ll also find emergency safety tips, shelter information, disaster recovery centers, online disaster assistance, and FEMA’s disaster reporter.

Download the preparedness app

Know your risk - Make a plan - Take action

With the Pikes Peak Prepared app you can

  • Create your own readiness plan
  • Access digital guides, videos, checklists, and news articles
  • Stay informed with the events schedule and weather alerts
  • Receive non-emergency messages about how to get ready to help yourself and your community

The app features information on

  • Wildfires
  • Winter Storms
  • Individual Preparedness including “build your plan”
  • Psychological First Aid
  • Preparedness for People with Access and Functional Needs
  • Readiness for Pet Owners
  • General Individual Preparedness Tips


Download from Apple App Store | Download from Google Play

Make a plan

Creating plans for family communications, loved ones with special needs, household matters, financial documents and evacuation are all part of being well prepared.  During an emergency, family members may not be together and a Family Communications Plan will assist people in contacting each other.  Household Plans will assist your family in knowing how to prepare ahead of time and what to do during and immediately after an event. Many businesses, schools and neighborhoods have taken steps to develop plans as well.  Neighbors and co-workers often support each other during times of disaster, especially if first responders are unable to get to your area.

Family and Household Emergency Plan

Download and fill out these forms to make your plan today!

  • Family Communications Plan - Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so plan how you will contact one another and review what you will do in different situations.
  • Household Plan - One of the most important steps you can take in preparing for emergencies is to develop a household disaster plan.
  • Important Documents Checklist - Having access to important documents can make recovery time after a disaster easier to manage.
  • Evacuation Plan - A wide variety of emergencies may cause an evacuation. In some instances you may have a day or two to prepare, while other situations might call for an immediate evacuation. Planning ahead is vital to ensuring that you can evacuate quickly and safely, no matter what the circumstances.

Dont' forget to check in with neighbors to see how you can help each other out before and after a storm.

Financial Preparedness Plan

Financial Preparedness - Americans at all income levels have experienced the challenges of rebuilding their lives after a disaster or other emergency. In these stressful circumstances, having access to personal financial, insurance, medical, and other records is crucial for starting the process of recovery quickly and efficiently. Taking the time now to collect and secure these critical records will give you peace of mind and, in the event of an emergency, will ensure that you have the documentation needed to start the recovery process without delay.

Evacuation Plan

Evacuation Plan: Many kinds of emergencies can cause you to have to evacuate. In some cases, you may have a day or two to prepare while other situations might call for an immediate evacuation. Planning is vital to making sure that you can evacuate quickly and safely no matter what the circumstances.

Plan for Pets and Animals

Pets and Animals - Remember, during a disaster what’s good for you is good for your pet, so get them ready today. If you leave your pets behind, they may be lost, injured – or worse. Never leave a pet chained outdoors. 

Disability, Access, Functional Needs Preparedness Plan

If you have a disability, access or functional need, plan ahead for accessible transportation that you may need for evacuation or getting to a medical clinic. Work with local services, public transportation or paratransit to identify accessible transportation options.

You may need to take additional steps for friends, neighbors or family members with disabilities, access or functional needs.

Youth Preparedness

Youth Preparedness - Disasters happen everywhere, and every member of the family can prepare. Preparedness for the future starts today. Whether you’re a kid or teen yourself, a parent or loved one, or work with youth, Ready Kids has tools and information to help before, during and after disasters.

More helpful links:

​Businesses and Organizations

There is much that a business leader can do to prepare his or her organization for the most likely hazards. The Ready Business program helps business leaders make a preparedness plan to get ready for these hazards.

The Ready Business Toolkit series includes hazard-specific versions for earthquake, hurricane, inland flooding, power outage, and severe wind/tornado. Tool kits offer business leaders a step-by-step guide to build preparedness within an organization. 


Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program educates volunteers about disaster preparedness for the hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. CERT offers a consistent, nationwide approach to volunteer training and organization that professional responders can rely on during disaster situations, which allows them to focus on more complex tasks. Through CERT, the capabilities to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters is built and enhanced.

Build A Kit

A disaster supplies kit is simply a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.

Try to assemble your kit well in advance of an emergency. You may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice and take essentials with you. You will probably not have time to search for the supplies you need or shop for them.

Household Kit

You may need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours or it might take days.

Additionally, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days or even a week, or longer. Your supplies kit should contain items to help you manage during these outages.

Evacuation Kit

Assemble supplies that are ready for evacuation, both a “go-bag” you can carry when you evacuate on foot or public transportation and supplies for traveling by longer distances if you have a personal vehicle. Don't forget to plan for the five Ps in your evacuation kit:

  1. People (bring everything you'll need for 72 hours) 
  2. Pets (food, water, kennel, toys etc)
  3. Papers (like the deed to your home, insurance papers, birth certificates, telephone numbers etc) 
  4. Prescriptions 
  5. Photos that can't be replaced.

Vehicle Kit

You can becme stranded at any time so it is a good idea to keep an emergency supply kit in your car with these automobile extras:

  • Snacks and water
  • Jumper cables
  • Flares or reflective triangle
  • Ice scraper
  • Car cell phone charger
  • Blanket
  • Map
  • Cat litter or sand (for better tire traction)

Plan long trips carefully, listening to the radio or television for the latest weather forecasts and road conditions. If bad weather is forecast, drive only if absolutely necessary.


Additional Resources