Families with Children

Are you prepared for the next disaster?

Although Hurricanes pose the strongest threat to coastal regions, storms that form in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico have the potential to bring storm surge, high winds, tornadoes and inland flooding across Georgia. It is important to take time now to prepare in advance.

  • Prepare by assembling a Ready kit of supplies for both your home and your car.
  • Make a plan for responding to various threats and reconnecting with family members if you are separated during a disaster.
  • Stay informed about your risk for a range of emergencies and make sure you have a way to stay connected during a disaster.

Make Your Own Ready Kit

Make your own Ready kit with the items on the checklist below. Most of the items are inexpensive and easy to find, and any one of them could save your life. Headed to the store? Once you take a look at the basic items, consider what unique needs you might have. See Pets. Add those items to your kit and start packing it today.

Recommended Items

  • Water  – One gallon per person per day, for at least 3 days, for drinking and hygiene
  • Food – At least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Can opener – For food, if kit contains canned food
  • Radio – 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
  • Face mask – To help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter in place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties – For personal hygiene
  • Wrench or pliers – To turn off utilities
  • Local maps

Additional Items

  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Infant formula and diapers & food your children will eat
  • Toys to keep children occupied, plus all their vaccination forms
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
  • Cash or traveler’s checks and change
  • Emergency reference material such as a first aid book
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider adding bedding in cold weather
  • Complete change of clothing. Include a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider adding clothing in cold weather
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, plastic utensils, paper towels
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children.

Get Ready

Extreme Heat

Temperatures that hover 10 degrees or more above the average high temperature for the region and last for several weeks are defined as extreme heat. Heat kills by taxing the human body beyond its abilities. In Georgia, it is not unusual for temperatures to soar into the 90s.

Floods and Flash Floods

Floods are the second most common and widespread of all natural disasters, after fire. In Georgia, most communities experience some kind of flooding after spring rains or heavy thunderstorms.

House Fires

Each year, household fires cause almost 4,000 Americans deaths and more than 25,000 injuries. Many residential fire-related deaths remain preventable through planning and proper response.


As a coastal state, Georgia is particularly at risk for hurricanes. Storms that form in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico have the potential to affect our state. Every resident should plan what to do in the event of an evacuation.

Thunderstorms and Lightning

All thunderstorms are dangerous because they can produce strong winds, lightning, tornadoes, hail and flash flooding. The typical thunderstorm is 15 miles in diameter and lasts an average of 30 minutes.


Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. They can appear without warning and can be invisible until dust and debris are picked up or a funnel cloud appears. Planning and practicing specifically how and where you take shelter is a matter of survival.


More and more people are making their homes in wooded settings near forests and remote mountains sites. There, homeowners enjoy the beauty of the environment, but face the very real danger of wildfires.

Develop a Communications Plan

Your family may not be together when disaster strikes. Make a plan today. Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.


Talk with your children

Babies & Toddlers will know no difference in cases of disasters, but once children are of school age it can be a frightening time for them. Explain to them that by being really good and doing as they’re asked and told, that things should be fine. Go through these things with them.


Create and practice a home fire escape plan with all family members. This will help your child react more quickly and safely exit the house. The fire escape plan should include two escape routes from each room in case the door is blocked by smoke or fire. Fire escape routes must be kept clear from clutter. Make sure all security bars (that block outside entry to your house) have quick release devices. All older family members should know how to open them. The fire escape plan should address the special needs of disabled children.

Practice the fire escape plan at least twice a year. Teach children to stay low to the floor, where air is safer, when escaping from a fire. Teach your child how to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes catch on fire. Pick a place that is safe and easy to remember outside your house where family members can meet after they escape. Teach them not to be afraid of firefighters in uniform.

In an average year, 1000 tornadoes are reported, resulting in 80 deaths and over 1,500 injuries. Tornadoes have been reported in every state and can happen at any time of the year. Take tornadoes seriously, because with winds blowing at 200 mph or more, they can destroy just about anything in its path. Always listen to the radio and television for the latest information and instructions for your area.

Get your children to watch this Fire Safety Video for Kids with Steve Songs & Sparky the Fire Dog video

Tornado & Hurricanes

A Tornado watch means tornadoes are possible in your area. Stay tuned to the radio or television news.

A Tornado warning means a tornado is either on the ground or has been detected by Doppler radar. Seek shelter immediately!

Before a Tornado

  • Make sure your children know where to go in case a tornado threatens, an interior room away from windows
  • Crouch down on your knees and protect your head with your arms.

If your Children are at School during a Tornado

  • Every school should have a disaster plan and have frequent drills
  • Schools without basements should use interior rooms and hallways on the lowest floor away from windows
  • Crouch down on your knees and protect your head with your arms.

After a Tornado

  • Stay indoors until it is safe to come out
  • Watch out for downed power lines
  • Stay with your parents or guardian.

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