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Prepare Now for Emergencies

pdf icon PWHD Information Sheet: Prepare Now for Emergencies
pdf icon PWHD Information Sheet: Collect Medications to Prepare for Disasters

Preparedness is everyone’s responsibility. The Prince William Health District encourages all residents to develop a Family Emergency Plan that addresses the home, school and work place. You should also maintain a Disaster Supply Kit for your home and your vehicle. In a major emergency, it may take several days for first responders and disaster response agencies to provide assistance to you and your family.  

Follow these three easy steps to ensure that you and your family are ready for an emergency.

Step 1: Get a Kit

Get A Kit

You should have enough supplies in your kit for everyone in your family, as well as your pets, to last a minimum of three days.

When putting your kit together, be sure to include special items geared towards the people in your household. The needs of children, older adults, and individuals with disabilities should be addressed. Please visit our At-Risk Individuals page for additional information.

Some suggested items to include in your kit include:

  • Water – One gallon per person, per day. Don’t forget that your pets will need water, too!
  • Food -  The items you include should require minimal water and no refrigeration, preparation or cooking. Remember to include special dietary requirements of individuals in your household and a can opener!
  • First Aid and Medical Supplies to include prescription and non-prescription medications and medical supplies or equipment that you may use.
  • Records and Financial Documents
  • Sanitation Supplies
  • Clothing and Bedding
  • Survival Tools and Equipment to include a battery-powered radio and flashlight, extra batteries, cell phone chargers and a road map.

For a more complete list of what to include in your Disaster Supply Kit, check out our Disaster Supply Kit Checklist (en Español) or download the Get a Kit worksheet from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. 

Step 2: Make a Plan

Download Make a Plan worksheet

Emergencies and disasters can strike at anytime and anywhere. They can happen quickly and without warning, and they can force you to evacuate your neighborhood or require you to shelter-in-place. When developing your Emergency Plan it is important to discuss the types of threats and hazards that could affect our area (see the Weather-Related Emergencies and Agents, Diseases and Threats sections below). It is also vital that you understand each person’s needs and abilities.
Are you ready to develop your Family Emergency Plan? Get your family together and create one online - quickly and easily! Visit the Ready NOVA website at Own a business? This website also allows you to create a plan for your business. Don’t forget to review your plan regularly and make sure the information is up-to-date. An outdated plan or a plan that others don’t know about won’t help you during an emergency.  The Virginia Department of Emergency Management also provides useful information on their website to assist you in developing your plan, available by clicking here.

Step 3: Stay Informed

Download Make a Plan worksheet

Before, during and after a disaster, it is important that you are able to stay up-to-date with the latest information. Emergency officials may provide information on weather watches and warnings, evacuation orders, details about evacuation routes, locations of emergency shelters, how to safely stay where you are, where to find assistance, and other important safety and health information.

Local media will convey instructions from government officials in the event of an emergency. A NOAA Weather Radio is recommended so that you are able to receive weather warnings directly from the National Weather Service. A NOAA Weather Radio is also available for individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, giving them around-the-clock, up-to-the-minute weather information. To sign up to receive emergency messages via cell phone and email, visit

Click here to visit the Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s website for additional information on staying informed, including a worksheet to help you prepare and tips for reaching family, friends and emergency services after an emergency.

Last Updated: 05-08-2013

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