Preparing for challenges

To prepare for emergencies, we need to understand the risks we face and the ways that we can prepare to handle those emergencies.


When looking at emergencies, we deal with two different aspects, those being normal times and extraordinary times.

Ordinary Times- These are the risks we face on a day-to-day basis, such as working a difficult job, travelling to school, or inclement weather.

Extraordinary Times- These are risks we face in extreme circumstances, such as Hurricane Katrina making landfall in New Orleans, national emergencies, and pandemics.


To be truly resilient, you have to be prepared for both ordinary and extraordinary circumstances.

"The country needs to act and to learn how to prevent, prepare and respond to the new threats to our safety and well-being."
-Dr. R. Gillio - Lessons Learned at Ground Zero

How can I prepare for an emergency?

On days when everything is going smoothly and following the status-quo, it can be hard to envision that everything can change in an instant. Preparation is key!

When disaster threatens, officials may order an evacuation. Evacuation means leaving an area in an orderly fashion, especially for your protection and safety. An evacuation may be required because of smoke, fire, extreme weather, flooding or other emergencies such as a bomb threat.



School Evacuation

At your school, the first priority is the safety of all students and staff. Evacuation plans have been pre-defined and practiced. (A fire drill is a type of evacuation.)

If you are required to relocate to another site, know that plans have been made to notify your parents or guardians of the situation.

Emergency kits and supplies have been stockpiled to assure your safety and comfort.

What can I do in case of a school evacuation?

  • Do NOT use your cell phone without checking with a teacher first. A cell phone has the potential to set off a bomb if that is the threat.

  • Stay calm, cooperate and follow instructions.

  • Assist your teacher in accounting for classmates.

  • Assist students with special needs.

  • Take drills seriously. You will perform in a real emergency as you perform in a drill.


Evacuations Due to Severe Weather

  • Extensive damage happens when wind enters a home through a broken window, door, or damaged roof. Houses do not explode due to air pressure variances.
  • Cover the outside of windows with shutters or plywood if high winds are expected. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking. Tape does prevent windows from shattering. However, a better defense against the wind is covering windows with plywood.
  • Move objects that may get damaged by wind or water to safer areas of your home. Move television sets, computers, stereo and electronic equipment, and easily movable appliances like a microwave oven to higher levels of your home and away from windows. Wrap them in sheets, blankets, or burlap.
  • Contact family and friends in areas away from the storm who may be able to help you.
  • Have a safe designation in mind.

On short notice officials may order an evacuation. Take these things and go!

  • Medical supplies: prescription medications, eyeglasses and first aid kit.

  • Disaster supplies: flashlight, batteries, radio, bottled water and food that does not require refrigeration

  • Clothing and bedding: a change of clothes, a sleeping bag and pillow for each household member

  • Car keys, maps and keys to where you plan to go

  • Important papers (or copies of originals)
    o Checkbook, cash, and credit cards
    o Driver's license and personal identification
    o Social Security cards
    o Deed or lease, insurance policies, birth and marriage certificates
    o Stocks, bonds, wills, and copies of recent tax returns


Luckily, various agencies have prepared checklists and procedures for emergency situations. Check out the links below to get started!

CDC Emergency Kit Checklist for Kids and Families

You need to have supplies ready when you need to either get out quickly or shelter in place. Check out what the Center for Disease Control recommends by clicking on the picture to the right. 

United States Department of Labor Evacuation 

Planning an evacuation can be a very tough task. Follow the link by clicking on the picture to the right to learn more about emergency evacuation plans.

CDC Emergency Preparation and Planning

Click the picture to the right to see what the Center for Disease Control recommends for preparing for emergencies. Utilize this information for your all emergency preparation plans.


Click on the image to the right to assess your own emergency readiness. This website will calculate an ACE Score, which can be used as a mark for how prepared and resilient you are now and highlight areas that need improvement. 


To be absolutely prepared, you should be in good physical health. In addition to mental and emotional preparation, physical preparation is key to surviving an emergency. 

To learn more about how the body works and how you can prepare to be as physically fit as possible, you can check out some of our other courses, and become a Force for Health!

Force for Health: Form and Function 

Force for Health: Health Basics 

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