Homeland Security and Emergency Management

A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

Personal and Family Preparedness

Personal preparedness includes being ready for emergencies at home, in your car, or anywhere else you may spend time. These preparedness efforts are a team effort. HSEM provides information and resources to help you better prepare for the possibility of an emergency or disaster. 

Being prepared can reduce fear, anxiety, and losses that accompany disasters. What you do now can help you and your family better respond to and recover from any disaster or emergency, as well as contribute to the overall readiness of your community.  Although there are many things that people can do to increase their preparedness for emergencies, the three basic steps listed below are a good start that cover most situations. 

1. Make a Kit 

Emergency Preparedness kit.jpgYou 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.
The following items are recommended for a basic emergency supply kit:
  • One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • At least a three day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towe​lettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
  • Local maps cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger 

Emergency Evacuation Kit 

If the fire department knocks on your door at 2 a.m. and says you and your family have 2 minutes to leave now - what would you take? All the items in your home emergency kit may not be necessary.  Check this list for your "Evacuation Kit" - what to take to get you through a night or two in a shelter.


2. Make a plan

Before any emergency happens, make a plan. To start, sit down as a family and create a communications plan. Make sure everyone has each other's phone numbers and also has numbers for other family or friends nearby who​ can help relay information.
Also decide on a good safe location you can all meet at if you are unable to return home right away. A friend, family member or local landmark (church, school, etc.)  
Write it all down (see the HSEM Family Phone List) and make copies for everyone and keep a copy in your emergency supply kit.. Remember to check the plan periodically to make sure its always up-to-date.

From FEMA and Ready.gov

3. Be Informed

There are important differences between potential emergencies that can impact the decisions you make and the actions you take. Learn more about the potential emergencies that could happen in Minnesota.

4. Get Involved

The fourth step, Getting Involved, comes as a result of successfully completing the first three. Once you are confident that your and your family are ready for any emergency, helping others do the same, especially in your area, building or community, will also help build strength and resiliency and help a community recover and rebound quickly following any emergency.

To learn about your community's emergency plans and how you can help in the event of a disaster contact your city or county emergency manager.  Ask about how to join or establish a CERT team or other local volunteer organization in your community. .


Preparedness and Warning Apps For Smartphones

Today’s smartphones and mobile devices can do more than just communicate – they can help you prepare for, respond or recover from emergencies and disasters. Dozens of apps are available from authoritative sources such as FEMA or the Red Cross – and depending on your type of phone and service, many are free.

Some of these tools can warn you of imminent weather dangers, help you build an emergency kit, locate an emergency shelter or even make your phone work as a beacon or flashlight.

Just perform a search through the app store on your phone for words like “weather” or “preparedness” or “emergencies” and download an app you like.