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A 3-step plan to prepare your family for a disaster

Get or put together an emergency kit, choose a meeting place and get informed and trained by the American Red Cross to help your family.

March 19, 2011

Buying or making an emergency kit is just one of three steps that the American Red Cross recommends in preparation for a disaster.

Step 2 is to develop a plan for your household, including the designation of two meeting places. One meeting place should be near the home and used in case of immediate threat such as fire. The second meeting place should be outside your neighborhood and used to reunite if you are evacuated or cannot go back home. Every household also should designate emergency contacts outside the region, to increase the chances of successful communication if local telephone lines are not fully operational. The plan also should include provisions for pets.

Step 3 is to be informed: Make sure someone in the household has been trained in first aid, and prepare emergency contact cards that can be kept in wallets. Templates for those cards and other information can be found on the American Red Cross website, http://www.redcross.org. Under "Preparing and Getting Trained," click on "Prepare — Home & Family."

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has advice specific to different types of disasters: earthquake, wildfire, even nuclear power plant emergency. Go to: http://www.fema.gov/plan/index.shtm.

We have indexed more articles about disaster preparedness for easy reference. You can find it today atop our L.A. at Home blog, latimes.com/home. Or you can e-mail home@latimes.com and we will reply with the link.

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