Plan and Prepare


Discuss with your family what to do before, during, and after an emergency. Planning ahead now will help everyone be better prepared.


Make an emergency kit before a disaster with basic items your family may need during or after an emergency. Make sure everyone knows where to find it.

Stay Informed

Know the hazards where you live. Have a way to monitor severe weather. Register for Haywood Alerts to receive emergency notifications wherever you are.

Create a Family Emergency Plan

Every household and family should have a plan on how they will handle several key things in the event of an emergency. You may be away from home or each other when an emergency happens. Let’s consider a few things to talk about as a family that will make a bad day just a little bit better.

Step 1 — Discuss the following questions with your loved ones. If it helps you to stay organized, write them down.

1. How will you receive emergency alerts and notifications?

2. What is our shelter plan?

3. What is the best evacuation route in different emergencies?

4. What is our family/household communication plan?

5. Do we have an emergency kit, and it is appropriate for our family’s needs now?


Step 2 — Consider your family and household-specific needs.

  • Your ages
  • Your responsibilities to help others
  • Locations you are at often
  • Dietary needs
  • Medical needs
  • Disability or access needs
  • Language needs
  • Cultural or religious considerations
  • Pets or service animals
  • Needs of students in your household


Step 3 — Write down your plan and practice it together

Use this handy Guide

Don’t wait for emergency to find out if your plan works!

Gather An Emergency Kit

Items everyone should include:


  • Water (one gallon per person per day. for several days, for drinking and sanitation)
  • Food (several day supply, non-perishable)
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First Aid Kit
  • Extra Batteries
  • Whistle (to signal for help)
  • Dust Mask (to filter contaminated air)
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
  • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
  • Manual can opener (for food)
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and backup battery

Additional items to consider:


  • Masks (for everyone ages 2 and up), soap, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes
  • Prescription medications (and copy of actual prescription)
  • Over-the-counter medications (pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids, laxatives, allergy medications
  • Eyeglasses and contact lens solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes
  • Pet food and water
  • Small amount of cash
  • Important family documents (insurance policies, IDs, bank account records) in waterproof container
  • Sleeping bag or blanket for each person
  • One change of clothes and extra outer layer, sturdy shoes
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Waterproof matches
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene
  • Mess kit — plates, cups, cutlery
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, kids activities

Winter Emergency Kits:

  • Water and food for several days
  • Clothing to keep you warm and dry
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank weather radio
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Small cooler and hand warmers to keep electronics warm
  • First Aid Kit
  • Local maps
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Wet wipes and plastic baggies
  • Personal protective equipment (masks)
  • Non-sparking wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Can Opener
  • Baby and toddler essentials for little ones
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