Emergency Preparedness

What will you do when the ground starts to shake, the ice storm hits, the floodwaters come, a bridge goes out or the unthinkable happens?

Is your family set up to survive? What will your quality of life be like afterward?

If these questions feel impossible to answer, think again. Taking the time to answer them can be the difference between life and death.

We can help you figure out what being prepared looks like for you, your household, your neighborhood and our broader community.

Sign up for Emergency Alerts

One of the easiest ways to prepare is to sign up for emergency alerts. Our region’s emergency alert system is operated through the Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency (CRESA). CRESA provides critical information around evacuations, severe weather, missing persons alerts, fire or police action, emergency hazardous spills or road closures.  

You can customize your alert preferences to receive time-sensitive messages however you choose, whether via your home phone, mobile phone, or by email, text messages and more.

Also, follow the City on social media to stay on top of closures, shelter and other information during a disaster.

Getting started

Preparing for one or two hazards sets you up to weather most others. For example, having clean drinking water is critical to making it through just about any kind of disaster. Similarly, keeping an N-95 mask in your emergency kit can protect against disease and provide some protection against ash in the event of a volcanic eruption.

There are three ways to prepare:

1. Understand the hazards

We know what hazards are most likely to pose threats in our community. Focusing on key hazards and learning what to expect for each is the best way to be prepared.

2. Build your plan

We know preparedness can be an overwhelming task but having even a simple plan takes you a long way toward being ready when disaster strikes. Our advice? Start simple and build from there.

3. Build your kit

In a disaster or emergency you may need to survive for several days on your own. Setting up and maintaining your emergency kit makes you resilient in the face of disaster so you can survive until help reaches you.

Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities

It might not be pleasant to think about emergencies and disasters, but planning ahead is the best way to ensure you and all the members of your household remain safe during fires, floods, earthquakes and other events. That is even more true for people with disabilities. Emergencies and disasters can come quickly and without warning, forcing people to be confined to, or leave their homes unexpectedly. During an emergency, you might not have access to a grocery store, pharmacy, hospital or other critical services. Emergency responders may not be able to reach everyone quickly.

Preparing for emergencies and disasters can seem overwhelming, but we encourage you to take it one step at a time. There are steps people with disabilities will want to take to be as prepared as possible before an emergency happens.

To begin preparing, consider your own individual circumstances and those of your household before, during and after a variety of emergency types. You are in the best position to plan for your own (and your household’s) safety during and after an emergency or disaster situation but we can help also!

The following resources are available to help people with disabilities to get started with emergency preparedness.

After the emergency

Some disasters allow you to get back to normal life far more quickly than others. When major disasters strike, you may face weeks or months of displacement and a very different quality of life. By thinking through long-term impacts, you position yourself for resilience. Here’s how:

  • Stay informed. If your kit includes a radio, use it to hear critical updates like where to find supplies and how to get there if infrastructure is blocked.
  • Don’t return home until it’s safe.
  • Know where you’ll shelter. Staying with friends or family, hotels and free shelters are often set up at local schools, churches or convention centers.
  • Keep receipts for expenses in case your insurance can reimburse you.
  • Document damage to your property with photos and, if possible, descriptions. Your insurance will need this information to act on your behalf.
  • If your home is accessible, remove your valuables and store them in a safe place with people you trust or in a storage unit. Patch holes, clean up spills and look for ways to prevent further damage.

Learn more at DisasterAssistance.gov.

Level up your preparedness

Ready to take your preparedness to the next level? Use these resources to help you prepare.

Read the City’s Emergency Operations Plan.


Reach out to vancouverem@cityofvancouver.us.