The thought of having to leave home due to natural disaster is daunting, but being prepared can alleviate some of the stress. Here are some tips from the American Red Cross. For more, go towww.redcross.org or www.az211.gov.

Discuss the plan ahead of time:

  • Meet with your family and discuss why you need to prepare for disaster.
  • Pick two places to meet: right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire, or outside your neighborhood in case you can’t return home. Everyone must know the address and phone number.
  • Ask an out-of-state friend to be your “family contact.” After a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance. Other family members should call this person and tell them where they are. Everyone must know your contact’s phone number

If you have only moments before leaving, grab these things and go:

  • medical supplies: prescription medications and dentures
  • disaster supplies: flashlight, batteries, radio, first aid kit, bottled water
  • clothing and bedding: a change of clothes and a sleeping bag or bedroll and pillow for each household member
  • car keys and keys to the place you may be going (friend’s or relative’s home)
  • pets
  • checkbook, cash and credit cards

Plan ahead. Put the following items in a duffle bag or other large container in advance:

  • flashlight with plenty of extra batteries
  • battery-powered radio with extra batteries
  • first aid kit
  • prescription medications in their original bottle, plus copies of the prescriptions
  • eyeglasses (with a copy of the prescription)
  • water (at least one gallon per person is recommended; more is better)
  • foods that do not require refrigeration or cooking
  • items that infants and elderly household members may require
  • change of clothes for each household member
  • sleeping bag or bedroll and pillow for each household member
  • map of the area

Important papers to take with you:

  • driver’s license or personal identification
  • Social Security card
  • proof of residence (deed or lease)
  • insurance policies
  • birth and marriage certificates
  • stocks, bonds, and other negotiable certificates
  • wills, deeds, and copies of recent tax returns