If a natural disaster strikes, are you prepared? Have you considered the tough questions like where you’re going to go or how you’re going to contact your loved ones? According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), planning ahead is the best way to help your family deal with a disaster. Here’s how to prepare:

•Develop a family disaster plan: First, identify what disasters are likely in your community. Once you do this, plan where you’re going to shelter in place—both at home and at work—and how you’re going to get there. Consider filling out a contact card, available at http://1.usa.gov/1s973Dz, with important details like out-of-town contacts, medical information and the names and birth dates of your family members.  Another good resource is this pdfdeveloped by the American Red Cross

•Create an emergency supply kit: Prepare emergency kits for your home, office, school and car with essential supplies like water and non-perishable foods. You will also want to add electronics like a flashlight, extra batteries, radio and cell phone charger. Don’t forget to include a first aid kit, medicines, copies of your contact card, extra money and sets of your car keys and house keys.

•Equip family members with necessary skills: Teach your family members important skills like how to use the fire extinguisher and where it’s kept. They’ll also need to know how to turn off water, gas and electricity at your home. It’s especially important to teach young children how—and when—to call 911.

•Sign up for emergency alerts: Contact your local health department and emergency management agency to see if there are emergency alert systems in your area. You may also want to download American Red Cross’ Mobile Apps, available at redcross.org, to receive warnings, safety tips and other timely information.

 For more information, visit ready.gov.