Don’t forget this important back-to-school step


CHICAGO – As kids start returning to school, preparing for emergencies should be a part of that process. FEMA Region 5 encourages all families to take the time now to talk about potential disaster risks and steps to stay safe if the unexpected occurs.

“While emergencies can be scary, kids can cope better if they know what to expect,” said Tom Sivak, regional administrator, FEMA Region 5. “Children and youth are empowered through understanding risks and knowing how to protect themselves. Empowered youth can help involve their families, peers, and communities in disaster preparedness.”

Learn the risks that may threaten your family at home, school or work. Find more information at Make sure everyone understands the types of emergency alerts they may receive and how to receive them.

Have a family plan. If a disaster happens, knowing who to call and where to meet is an important part of emergency planning for you and your family.

Pick one main contact locally and one contact out of town who may be easier to reach during a disaster.

Decide on safe, familiar, accessible places where your family can go for protection or to reunite. If you have pets or service animals, think about animal-friendly locations. Consider places in your house, in your neighborhood, and outside of your city or town so you’re prepared for any situation.

Make sure your family members know to use texting during a disaster to free up phone lines for first responders.

Practice makes perfect. Practice your plan. Put pen to paper and make sure everyone in your family has copies of your plan. Hold regular meetings as a family to review your plan.

Build a kit. Keep enough emergency supplies on hand – water, nonperishable food, first aid, prescriptions, flashlight, and battery-powered radio – for everyone in your household. For a list of items to consider including, visit

For detailed information about how to be ready for the emergencies, visit or our Spanish site at You can also download the free FEMA app, available for your Android or Apple device. FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters.

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