Are you prepared for a natural or man-made disaster?

Learn tips to create an emergency plan to keep you and your family safe.

September is National Preparedness Month. Are you and your family prepared in the event of a natural or man-made disaster? If you are not, take steps to get ready now. A good resource for planning in case of an emergency is

The first step in putting together a plan, and it involves discussing four critical questions with your family, friends, or household:

  1. How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
  2. What is my shelter plan?
  3. What is my evacuation route?
  4. What is my family/household communication plan?

Second, consider the specific needs in your household. For example, what are the ages of your household members? Who will be able to help and who will need help? Are there any dietary or medical needs that will be critical? Brainstorm with other members of your household to make sure that you are considering all the major needs.

Next, commit your plan to writing. A detailed plan can be written using the Emergency Plan for Parents (PDF) provided by The PDF is fillable, so you can fill it out online and print a copy or you can print it out and fill it out with pen or pencil. Either way, it provides a detailed checklist for thinking through and creating your plan.

Finally, it’s important to practice your plan. Practice going to your household’s agreed upon meeting place. Review and use your communications plan, and practice different scenarios.

As you prepare your plan, you may discover many other tools that can help you protect your household during a disaster.

One that will save time and reduce stress is to make an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit:

  1. Compile important financial documents and contacts
  2. Review all the documents to make sure that they are accurate and current (especially insurance coverage for your home, auto and life).
  3. Store all of these documents and electronic files in a safe place. Consider purchasing a fire and waterproof box to store the most critical documents and some emergency cash, so that you can easily take the contents with you during the emergency.
  4. Review and update your kit on a regular basis and take photos and videos of personal property, as well as, keep copies of documents that contain up-to-date contact information.

Detailed information can be accessed by following the links above, or you can contact a Michigan State University Extension Finance and Homeownership team member. You can access help from an Extension professional for a number of your household needs. To contact an expert in your area, visit, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).

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