Resources for Civilians

Disasters are recurring, be prepared!

How might a disaster affect you? Could you make it on your own for at least three days? After a disaster, you may not have access to a medical facility or even a drugstore, so it’s crucial to plan for the resources you use regularly, and what you would do if those resources are limited or not available. BE PREPARED!

Preparation You Can Do

What disasters are likely to happen in my area?

Check out My Hazards! It’s a great tool for the general public to discover hazards in their area.

Look to purchase relevant insurance

Renter/Homeowners Insurance

Life Insurance

California – Earthquake and Flood insurance

Oregon – Tsunami coverage

Hawaii – Tsunami coverage

Create a living will, trust, and advanced directives

Evaluate your values for end of life.

How to talk to your family about your end of life decisions. 

  • Remember to place the documents in a visible spot like a refrigerator.
  • Have electronic forms easily accessible on your phone.
  • Combine a document for your family in the case something happens to you, so they won’t have to guess how to proceed – What My Family Should Know

Electronic Records Storage

Roadid will provide an electronic record of your medical information accessible online with an ID listed on your bracelet.

With an Apple iPhone, you can put your medical information into the Health application, and it will appear on your phone without needing to unlock it in the case of emergency.

Ensure you can receive emergency alerts and warnings

Confirm your mobile device can receive wireless emergency alerts. Sign up for text and/or email alerts from your local jurisdiction.

Consider purchasing a NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio.

Phone application – “Earthquake” provides updated earthquake information from all over the world.

Get your benefits electronically

If you depend on Social Security or other regular benefits, a disaster can disrupt mail services for days or weeks at a time. Switching to electronic payments is a simple but effective way to protect yourself financially if a disaster strikes; it also eliminates the risk of stolen checks.

The US Department of Treasury recommends two safer ways to get benefits:

Direct deposit into a checking or savings account. Federal benefit recipients can contact (800) 333-1795 for more information.

The Direct Express prepaid debit card is another option as a safe and easy alternative to paper checks. Call toll-free at (877) 212-9991.

Create a disaster plan for you and your family

As you prepare, tailor your plans and supplies to your specific daily living needs and responsibilities. Discuss how people in the network can assist each other with communication, care of children, business, pets, or specific needs like the operation of durable medical equipment. Create your own personal network for specific areas where you need assistance.

Keep in mind some of these factors while you’re developing your plan:

  • Differences of age members within your household
  • Responsibilities for assisting others
  • Dietary needs
  • Frequented locations
  • Medical needs including prescriptions and equipment
  • Spoken languages

Evaluation Checklist

Emergency List for High Risk Groups

Emergency contact list

Place your contact list in a highly visible and accessible area.

Keep an emergency contact list on your phone.

Emergency Contact List Template

In the case that you live alone

  • Have an Accountability Partner
  • Consider evacuating together in case of an emergency

Make sure someone always knows where you are and that you are safe

Home Preparation

Water supply

Have a minimum three day water supply per person available.

Make sure your water is filtered and keep chlorine tablets/portable filter on hand.

Learn more about emergency drinking supply storage.

Food supply

Have enough MRE and dry/canned food to last one week per person.

My Patriot Supply offers great products and examples of the kind of food supplies you should have prepared. They have a 72 hour food kit with 16 servings and a shelf life of 25 years.

Preparing utilities

Know how to shut off your gas to both save money and stay safe.

Protect the electronic products you value with surge suppressors and Uninterruptible Power Supplies. If your power goes out, a UPS provides battery power at a constant voltage, giving you time to safely turn off equipment.

In the event of a power outage

  • Turn off heating and cooling appliances until after power has been restored
  • Tune into a local radio station and log into D9
  • Do not open refrigerator unless necessary. Most modern refrigerators will maintain adequate cooling for over six hours if doors are not opened
  • Keep flashlights with batteries in a convenient place
  • Do Not use candles since they can easily cause a fire
  • During hot weather make sure to move outdoors to a shady area, continue to drink plenty of water, and stay with other people until the power is restored
  • During cold weather close drapes, doors, and windows to save heat, and isolate warm rooms or fireplace-heated rooms

Learn more about power outages.

Bug Out Bag

Imagine there is a knock on your door at 2AM and a police officer says you have five minutes to evacuate. 

Make sure to have a prepared bag with all the necessary tools and equipment

Packing List Comparison

Packing List Basic

Packing List Prepared

Packing List Super Prepared

Prepare your kids

Infants and Toddlers

  • Prepare at least 72 hours worth of baby formula, diapers, and baby wipes
  • Keep an extra diaper bag with these items in your car
  • Have an extra stroller ready in the car

Preschool/Elementary School-Aged Children

  • Include children in family discussions and plans for emergency safety
  • Conduct drills every 6 months
  • Create memory tactics for your children. Have them remember their full name, date of birth, address, and caregiver’s phone numbers
  • Discuss the safest places to go during a disaster that you are most likely to experience in your area
  • Review all possible exits
  • Teach Duck, Cover, and Hold for earthquakes or explosions
  • Teach Stop, Drop, and Roll during fires
  • Discuss what to do during emergency in schools, tall buildings and outdoors
  • Make sure your child has an emergency card
  • Teach your child to report if they smell gas during or after an emergency

How To Talk To Kids Pre-Disaster?

Red Cross has multiple programs for children.

Youth Preparedness Training: It is important that children and teens know what to do in an emergency. Youth can be prepared by participating in one of the following FREE programs: Be Red Cross Ready Teens, Ready K.I.D.S, or Masters of Disasters. To request your free on-site community presentation, Please complete an on-site community presentation form or call (661) 324-6427.

Firefighter Frank & Friends Puppet Show: Parents know the importance of learning fire safety skills, but may not have the resources to make the process fun and non-threatening to children. Join Firefighter Frank and his friends as they prepare youth ages 4-9 in this 45-minute puppet show extravaganza that educates participates in how to perform fire drills, how to stop, drop and roll, match safety, and crawling low in smoke. To request Firefighter Frank and Friends to visit your school or organization, please call (661) 324-6427.

To request an informational booth at your next event, please complete this Preparedness Event Request Form or call (661) 324-6427.

Assisting Those With A Language Barrier

Kwikpoint Medical Translators

These are laminated booklets designed to facilitate communication between hospital staff and non-English speaking patients. The cards include pictures for basic medical-related topics and assistance phrases that patients can point at to express their needs. Translators are available in Spanish and French as well as for disaster assistance.

Healthcare Communications Board

Originally for use in hospitals, rehab units, acute care, emergency rooms, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, clinics, hospice care and in the home, the Health Care Communications Board can provide an inexpensive alternative for communication in emergency situations.

Language Identification Flashcards

The Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, uses this Language Identification Flashcard, containing 38 languages, to help identify the language of their respondents. It can be used by first responders to determine the language of their patients.

Google Translate

It’s an instant translator with 57 different languages available. For 15 of those languages, the user can speak the phrase rather than type; for 23 languages, he or she can hear the translation played out loud. For non-Latin script languages like Japanese or Arabic, the user can choose to see a phonetic translation in Latin letters.


This application is a universal translator that translates into 52 different languages, including Arabic, Chinese (traditional and simplified), French, Spanish and Vietnamese. It operates as a text-to-speech device, so the user can type a word, sentence or phrase and have it played aloud in the target language.