Myth: I don’t need to worry about disasters where I live.

Emergency preparedness is not only for Californians, Midwesterners and Gulf Coast residents. Most communities may be impacted by several types of hazards during a lifetime. Americans also travel more than ever before to areas with different hazard risks than at home.

Knowing what to do before, during and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count. Use this site to learn about potential emergencies that can happen and how to prepare for and respond to them.

Basic Protective Measures for All Hazards

  • Physical safety is a concern for all hazards and may involve sheltering or evacuating.
  • Develop a family communications plan
  • Make an emergency supply kit to be prepared for any type of disaster.

Weather Radio

Having a NOAA Weather Radio in your home and workplace could save your life. Weather radios are designed to broadcast special frequencies and alert owners of hazards. The weather radio you buy can be set to silent until a warning of your choice occurs, at which point, it will alert you.

You cannot rely on television programs to warn you of an approaching tornado when the power is out. Only a weather radio, which is equipped with a backup battery, is only the truly fool-proof way to get your severe weather warnings. Even city-wide tornado sirens are fallible—tornadoes have been known to tear down siren alert systems in their paths.

NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards transmitters broadcast on one of seven VHF frequencies from 162.400 MHz to 162.550 MHz. The broadcasts cannot be heard on a simple AM/FM radio receiver. There are many receiver options, however, ranging from handheld portable units which just pick up Weather Radio broadcasts, to desktop and console models which receive Weather Radio as well as other broadcasts.

You can purchase a basic weather radio for as little as $20. They are sold at most electronics stores, including Radio Shack and Amazon.com.

Disaster Specific Preparedness There are important differences among potential emergencies that should impact the decisions you make and the actions you take.