Home Emergency Plan-Environmental Health & Safety - Carnegie Mellon University

Home Emergency Plan


  • Talk to officials at your children's’ schools so you know ahead of time what their policies are with respect to dismissal during emergencies. 
  • Develop a disaster plan for your home. 
  • Identify meeting places should family members become separated.
  • Identify a friend or relative who lives out of the area for separated family members to call to say they are OK.
  • Develop an emergency telephone list and be sure every family member has a copy. 
  • Be sure all family members know where all utility shutoffs are in your home, and how to operate them.
  • Set up a procedure to help family members or neighbors who may need assistance
  • Make arrangements ahead of time for pets (they may not be permitted in emergency shelters)
  • If you are required to evacuate, use only one vehicle, to reduce traffic congestion and to keep the family together.  Follow designated routes.
  • Review insurance policies before an emergency develops and update as necessary.
  • Put together an emergency kit.  Keep everything together so it can be quickly gathered and thrown into your car if you have to evacuate.  Include the following:
    • 1 gal water/person/day (3 days)
    • Food for same period (if using canned goods, include MANUAL can opener)
    • 1st Aid Kit, extra prescription medicines, glasses, contact lenses
    • Battery operated radio with extra batteries
    • Flashlight with extra batteries
    • Matches in waterproof container
    • Duct tape, scissors, plastic sheeting
    • Mess kits or paper plates, cups, utensils
    • Small fire extinguisher
    • Signal flares, whistle
    • Extra car and house keys
    • Sanitary items (toilet paper, towelettes, soap, disinfectant, etc.)
    • Personal ID, cash, traveler’s checks, credit or debit card. Keep in mind that ATM machines, credit card verification, etc. may not be available in an emergency, particularly if electrical power is compromised.
    • Copies of important papers (will, insurance policies, passport, birth certificates, bank account numbers, powers of attorney, etc.).  Place these in a waterproof container.
    • Emergency contact list, with phone numbers
    • Medications, including non-prescription medications that you take, such as pain relievers, stomach remedies, etc. If you use prescription medications, keep at least a three-day supply on hand.
    • Blankets, sleeping bags, pillows, extra clothing
    • Road maps
    • Toys and games to keep children occupied, as well as baby food and diapers, if they are infants. 
    • Food and water for pets, for emergencies that require you to remain in your home.
  • Talk honestly with your children.  Keep them informed without raising undue concerns.  Watch for distress signs and give them reassurance.  Try to keep them from seeing graphic depictions of the emergency on television, especially repeat showings.  Children may not realize that the disaster is not really occurring again with each viewing.