How to prepare for the worst during National Preparedness Month

When you’re displaced by a disaster, it turns your life upside down in a matter of seconds. Just as quickly, your mind is flooded with questions: Where do we go? What do we bring? How do we leave? Who do we tell?

While disasters will always be stressful — they are a crisis after all — there are steps you can take now during National Preparedness Month to feel more confident springing into action during an emergency.

  1. Build your emergency kit. Beyond general essentials such as water, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio and first aid kit, also consider medications, supplies for infants and pets, copies of important papers, phone chargers and portable power banks, maps of your area, and emergency contact information.
  2. Make a plan of what to do. What will you do if local officials issue evacuation orders? If you become separated from your family? How is this coordinated with your child’s school, your work or your elderly parent’s assisted living facility?
  3. Know how to stay informed. Earthquakes, wildfires and home fires are the most likely for our community. Identify how your local officials will share information during a disaster, including to issue any evacuation orders or shelter locations.

You can also prepare to help others as climate disasters become more frequent and intense. In fact, the American Red Cross now responds to nearly twice as many large disasters in the U.S. as we did a decade ago. More people need help more often — and as fast as our volunteers are working to deliver relief and care, the needs are escalating faster. Visit to join our volunteer teams and be the light in other people’s darkest hours.


Lori Wilson
Executive Director
American Red Cross Central Valley Chapter