It's not pleasant to think about but prepping for an emergency scenario is something you'll be grateful for if a natural disaster or other hazard threatens your home or family's safety.
Waves crashing into pier


In an emergency situation, time is of the essence. There are a few initial steps you can take ahead of time to ensure you’re equipped to handle an emergency:

  1. Put together an emergency preparedness bag. The Red Cross recommends that your survival kit contains water and food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid supplies, medications, hygiene items, a multi-purpose tool, copies of personal documents, a cell phone charger, family contact information, and a blanket.

    You can customize this list to fit your needs, such as extra medical supplies, pet and child supplies, car and house keys, etc. In addition, you can create supplemental bags depending on the emergency, with supplies such as a whistle, N95 masks, matches, towels, entertainment items, rain gear, gloves, and more. 

    Action Item: Take the Red Cross Emergency Preparedness Kit Quiz to see if your go-bag is up to snuff. If not, order one here
  2. Create an emergency plan for your household. Call a meeting with your family or roommates, or schedule some time for yourself to review what you’ll do in an emergency. 

    Action Item: Fill out a Family Disaster Plan and think through questions such as, “If separated during an emergency, what is our meeting place near our home?” and “What are the escape routes from our home?” 
  3. Understand the natural disaster threats in your area. Wildfires don’t typically threaten Maine; winter storms aren’t often a problem in Hawaii. Is your region prone to earthquakes, landslides, volcano eruptions, tornadoes, or hurricanes? Your emergency response plan can fluctuate based on the disaster, so make sure you’re prepared for your geographic region.  

    Action Item: Familiarize yourself with the natural disasters most likely to occur around you. For example, residents in the Midwest need to brush up on tornado, earthquake, and wildfire preparedness. 
  4. Review other emergency threats. Do you know what to do in the event of a chemical emergency, pandemic, heatwave, accidental poisoning, power outage, or act of terrorism? While uncomfortable to think about, it’s beneficial to understand how to vary your responses in different emergencies.  

    Action Item: Review different types of emergencies and think through potential responses for your household. 

Once the danger has passed, be sure to address your mental and emotional well-being. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers coping resources not only for individuals, but also for caregivers, children, teens, and responders. The Disaster Distress Helpline (800-985-5990) is accessible 24/7 and provides immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster.

For our CSU Global students, we encourage them to become familiar with and utilize the CSU Global Student Assistance Program, which provides free, confidential help 24/7, including live assistance and online counseling related to grief and loss, mental health, relocation guidance, and help in finding child or pet care in your area.

Did you know? CSU Global integrates Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) courses into its Emergency Management and Homeland Security curriculum. Learn more about our degree specialization in Emergency Management and M.S. in Military and Emergency Responder Psychology