Staying Safe at Home During a Natural Disaster

During a natural disaster, you may be able to stay in your home. This resource includes tips on what to do and ways to stay safe if you are at home during a natural disaster.


Staying Safe at Home During a Natural Disaster

What is a Natural Disaster?

A natural disaster is a large-scale, catastrophic event caused by an act of nature. Examples include floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, mudslides, and avalanches. They can cause severe damage to the environment and to the people who live there. A natural disaster may result in changes to daily routines, and leave you feeling helplessness. It may be necessary to rely on others for food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and other necessities of life.


Staying Safe During a Natural Disaster

Stay Informed:

Know what disasters could affect your area, which could call for an evacuation, and when you need to shelter in place.

Keep a NOAA Weather Radio tuned to your local emergency station and watch or listen to your TV and radio.

Follow any alerts and warnings you might get on your mobile phone about severe weather in your area. You can get the alerts if you Download the FEMA app.


Make a Family Emergency Communication Plan:

In severe weather emergencies, family members might be separated from each other, so it’s important to develop a plan for getting back together.

Ask an out-of-state friend or family member to serve as the family contact.

If the entire family knows to check in with one person who is not in the local area, everyone can be easily accounted for — whether phone service is working or not.


Build an Emergency Kit:

Every home should be prepared with an emergency supply kit with enough stock to last three days.

Put each item in an airtight zip lock plastic storage bag.

Put all disaster supply items in one or two easy-to-carry containers, such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.


Home: Keep this kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept.

Work: Be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should include food, water, and other necessities like medicines, as well as comfortable walking shoes, stored in a “grab and go” case.

Car: In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car.


Your kit should include:

Non-perishable food

Bottled water

Flashlights/extra batteries

A portable radio

First-aid kit

Prescription medications

Manual can opener

Baby-care items

Extra blankets

Sleeping bags

Fire extinguisher


Avoid Unnecessary Risks:

Don’t leave your home unless instructed to go somewhere else.

Watch TV, listen to the radio, or check the internet often for news.

Bring your family and pets inside.

Lock doors, close windows, air vents and fireplace dampers.

Turn off fans, air conditioning and forced air heating systems.

Take your emergency supply kit, unless you believe it has been contaminated.


Go to the Safest Area in Your Home:

During a flood, go to a higher floor (upstairs).

If a tornado is in the area, go to a basement or inner room on the bottom floor of your home, such as the bathroom or closets.

Keep away from windows and close curtains to protect from shattered glass.






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This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.