Be Prepared

This page outlines steps to being prepared for a disaster or emergency

Preparing Makes Sense

The likelihood that you and your family will survive a house fire depends as much on having a working smoke detector and an exit strategy, as on a well-trained fire department.  The same is true for surviving a terrorist attack or other emergency.  We must have the tools and plans in place to make it on our own, at least for a period of time, no matter where we are when disaster strikes.  Just like having a working smoke detector, preparing for the unexpected makes sense.

Get a Kit

You may need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own food, water, and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least three days. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours, or it might take days. In addition, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment, and telephones may be cut off for days, or even a week or longer.

Information on Building Your Kit

Make a Plan

Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to plan in advance: how you will contact one another; how you will get back together; and what you will do in different situations.

Information on Making Your Plan

Family Communications Plan Card

Be Informed

Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as making an emergency supply kit and developing a family communications plan, are the same for both a natural or man-made emergency.  However, there are important differences among potential emergencies that will impact the decisions you make and the actions you take. There are many potential emergencies that could happen in the City of St Louis and the appropriate way to respond to them may also vary.  

Please be aware that some emergencies may require you to shelter-in-place, while others may require you to evacuate from your home, neighborhood or even the city.  Knowing what to do during an emergency is an important part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count.  

Staying informed is an important part of any emergency situation, and there are a number of ways that you can get that information. 


Outdoor Warning Sirens

NOAA Weather Radio

NotifySTL - Emergency Notification System

CEMA Twitter

CEMA Facebook

CEMA Instagram



Get Involved

There are a great number of volunteer agencies and opportunities in the City of St. Louis.  A great way to be prepared and ready to help yourselves, your family and your neighbors is through the Community Emergency Response Team.  This team gives you the basic skills needed to assist in times of emergency, before the first responders arrive. Another way to become involved is through Skywarn and becoming a Spotter.


Community Emergency Response Team (CERT


Access and Functional Needs

All individuals, including people with disabilities, should take the time before a disaster to plan for survival at home, in a shelter, or elsewhere in the event of an actual emergency.

In addition to’s recommended items to include in a basic emergency supply kit.  People with disabilities and other access and functional needs may wish to consider the following in their preparations.

Now is the time to plan ahead for what you may need to stay safe, healthy, informed, mobile, and independent during a disaster. Remember that a disaster may require sheltering-in-place at home or evacuating to an emergency shelter or other form of temporary housing.


Ready.Gov - People with Functional Needs

National Organization on Disability - Emergency Preparedness

Ready.Gov - Seniors

Ready.Gov - First Responders

Ready.Gov - Military Families

Ready.Gov - En Espano


If you are like millions of animal owners nationwide, your pet is an important member of your household. The likelihood that you and your animals will survive an emergency such as a fire or flood, tornado or terrorist attack depends largely on emergency planning done today. Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling an animal emergency supply kit and developing a pet care buddy system, are the same for any emergency. Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets. Keep in mind that what's best for you is typically what's best for your animals.

If you must evacuate, take your pets with you if possible. However, if you are going to a public shelter, it is important to understand that animals may not be allowed inside. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your pets.

Make a back-up emergency plan in case you can't care for your animals yourself. Develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends and relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make it on your own for at least three days, maybe longer.


Ready.Gov - Pets

ASPCA Emergency Preparedness

Humane Society of Missouri Disaster Preparedness

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