Get Prepared

This part of PREP gives you an overview of what’s needed to get your household ready for a disaster, plus links to detailed checklists and other information you’ll need. 

Many people find that getting prepared is easier with the support of friends or neighbors. You may prefer to start out as a group, or alternatively you may want to reach out to help your neighbors after you’ve gotten started as a household. For how to work together, see Get Prepared with Your Neighbors.

Remember—you don’t have to do everything at once. Just keep taking one small step at a time.

What to do: a quick view

Get informed:  Learn what happens during an earthquake and how to protect yourself and loved ones. Teach your household what to do and what not to do.

  • During an earthquake: DROP to the ground; take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If inside, stay there. If outside, move away from buildings, streetlights, utility wires: do not go inside until the shaking stops.
  • If you’re on the coast, move quickly to the highest possible ground. Do NOT go near the beach.
  • After the shaking stops, take care of yourself and your loved ones, put on protective hat and clothing, check for gas or propane leaks and turn the gas off ONLY if necessary. Meet with neighbors to assess the situation and decide how to work together.

Prepare Your Mind (PDF)
How to Stay Safe in an Earthquake or Tsunami (PDF)
What to Do Right After an Earthquake (PDF)

Make a plan:  If disaster strikes, having a plan in place and knowing what to do will help you feel calm and in control. Make sure family or household members are in on the plan.

  • Plan what to do if a disaster occurs while you're at home, at work, or in school. Include special needs for family members and pets.
  • Decide on a place to meet and an out-of-state contact person for family members to call. (Long distance calls or text messages may go through when local lines are overwhelmed.)
  • Walk around your home looking for hazards such as tall bookshelves, and start fixing them.

Red Cross Family Disaster Plan (PDF)
Family Pet Emergency Plan (PDF)
Earthquake Home Hazard Hunt (PDF) 

Build a kit:  A disaster can affect your ability to access food, water, electricity and other services. Learn what supplies and tools you will need in order to make it through.

  • Start stockpiling enough supplies for everyone in your household for at least a week including one gallon of water per person per day, canned or dried food (including for pets), flashlights and batteries, and medications.
  • Make a stash of useful items at home, including a first aid kit; battery or crank radio; camp stove (with fuel) and other camping gear; tools and supplies for home repairs; and emergency toilets.
  • Make a personal “go kit” for each member of the household in case you need to evacuate, as well as kits for work, school and the car in case you’re not at home when disaster strikes.

PREP Checklist: GO and STAY KITS (PDF)
Family Emergency Supplies Calendar (PDF)
Beyond 72 Hours (PDF)
Emergency Sanitation (PDF)
Storing Emergency Water for Disasters (PDF)
Work, School and Car Kits and Vehicle Prep (PDF)    
Where to Buy Supplies (PDF)

Download all preparedness handouts (ZIP file) 

More information
Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse - Have fun getting ready
Take 5 to Survive - 5 minute projects to move you toward readiness
Be Informed - What to do before, during and after different kinds of natural and other disasters
Together We Prepare Oregon (PDF)  
Living on Shaky Ground (PDF)

Also see Resources for more information, including how to help children, seniors and   people with disabilities before and during a disaster; emergency communications; preparing mentally; how-to videos; training; and more.

Next Steps