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Ready DC
Ready DC

Home and Family

Your family members may not all be in the same place when an emergency situation occurs. Making a plan is therefore essential – it allows your family to be better prepared to face, and recover from, emergency situations. Know how you will contact one another and where you’ll reconnect if separated.  

Be Aware

  • Prepare for weather emergencies, natural disasters and human-caused active threats. Visit the ReadyDC Hazard section to learn about the threats and hazards we face in the District. 
  • Be mindful of your surroundings when you are at home and away from home. 
  • Wherever you are, avoid areas that do not seem safe and always note emergency exits for evacuation. 

Create a Family Emergency Plan

  • Make and regularly update a list of phone numbers for family members to call during an emergency.
  • Prepare for weather emergencies, natural disasters and human-caused active threats. Visit the ReadyDC Hazard section to learn about the threats and hazards we face in the District. 
  • Know how you will contact one another and reconnect if separated.  
  • Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.  
    Have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and ensure your family members know what to do if the detectors go off. 
  • Have a fire evacuation plan and practice, practice, practice.  
  • Develop a family communications contact list of important telephone numbers, include doctor, medical conditions, allergies, and medications. 
  • Determine what steps you can take to secure your home as much as possible. Take advantage of the District’s Private Security Camera System Incentive Program.   
  • “If You See Something. Say Something.” Review MPD’s Suspicious Activity Reporting Tool page to how to report suspicious activity; and remember to call 911 in emergency situations.  
  • Develop a support network of family members and friends that can help you in an emergency if you are not at home when an emergency or disaster strikes. 

Build an Emergency Kit

  • Ensure you have an emergency kit for each family member that would last at least three days. 
  • Include food, water, medications, flashlight, radio, and a first-aid kit. Visit ReadyDC’s Emergency Kit section for a complete list of items to include. 
  • Keep family documents and records including birth certificates, social security cards, homeowner records, and passports in a water-proof/fire proof safe. You can also keep copies of these important documents on a USB or in printed form in your kit. 
  • Prepare for your pet and/or service animal. Have an emergency kit with food and water as well as identification and a photo of you and your animal together. 

Additional Step You Can Take to Prepare

  • Identify a meeting spot for your family members to reunite after an emergency.
  • Get training and explore volunteer opportunities for disaster response through the Community Emergency Response Team at Serve DC.  Visit call (202) 727-7925. 
  • Take photos of your home and valuables for use as insurance inventory. 
  • Use an online registry such as the “Safe and Well” website or the Smart 9-1-1 website so that family members and responders can connect with you. To learn more about Smart 911, visit, 

What Children Can Do

  • Know how to dial 911 during an emergency for help. 
  • Keep emergency phone numbers and addresses for family members with them in backpacks, wallets, school notebooks, and in cell phones. 
  • Include games, books, and toys in their emergency kit to help them keep calm and stay comfortable. 
  • Practice emergency drills at home and at school. 
  • Know their address and where their emergency meeting spot is. 


Build A Kit for your Home & Family

In addition to the General Emergency Kit, you should also prepare:

  • Comfort items: If you have children, you may want to have toys, books, and non-perishable snacks in your emergency kit to make them more comfortable.
  • Extra house and car keys
  • Baby formula, bottles and nipples
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • A manual/hand operated can opener for food