How to Get Ready Now

Evacuations in the U.S. are more common than most people realize, according to FEMA. Natural disasters aside, people are forced to leave their homes hundreds of time a year because of transportation and industrial accidents.

Here’s a list of things you can prepare now in case your home is ever in harm’s way:

  • Have a grab-and-go kit. Include essential supplies, such as water, food, and first-aid supplies.

Related: What to Put In Your Emergency Preparedness Kit

  • Have copies of important papers.Keep these in a plastic, waterproof case. FYI, this stuff is invaluable, because you may need to demonstrate who you are and that you own your house.  Include:
    • Your driver’s license.
    • The deed to your house.
    • Proof of insurance.
    • Medical records.
    • Passports.
    • Social security cards.
    • A list of personal contacts.


  • Safeguard pets. Make sure they’re micro-chipped and have I.D. collars. Create pet grab-and-go kits that include leashes, medications, meal bowls, and three days worth of food and water.
  • Prep your yard. Maintain your trees and shrubs so diseased or weakened branches won’t fall down and damage your property.
  • Know your utility shutoffs. Learn now how to safely shut off all utility services in your home. FEMA has tips for shutting off electricity, water, and gas. Note: To turn off gas you may need a special wrench.
  • Stockpile sandbag materials. If you live in a flood prone area, keep sandbags on hand or the materials to make them. It takes 100 sandbags to create a 1-foot-tall wall that’s 20 feet long. If you’re filling bags on the fly, two adults can create the wall in about an hour.
  • Protect windows. If you live in an area susceptible to hurricanes, install shutters that are rated to provide protection from windblown debris.