Sheriff's Office

Emergency Family Preparedness - Make a Communication Plan

The recent Caughlin and Washoe Fires served as a reminder to all of us that catastrophic national disasters such as fires, earthquakes, and floods can strike at any time, whether we're ready for them or not.

Even with advance warning, a disaster can be overwhelming, and it's not always possible to communicate with family members who may be at work or school when an emergency strikes. A little planning and practice before you're in danger can help you and your family handle even the worst disasters. Starting this month, each newsletter throughout the year will offer important information on how you can prepare for any emergency. In Part One, we will cover who to call and how to get help. For more comprehensive emergency preparedness information, go to

Know who to call and how to get help during an emergency. Use this checklist to help you prepare.

  • Create a support network of at least 3 people who live near you that are trustworthy and close enough to help within minutes, such as a neighbor, friend or relative.
  • Post a list of emergency numbers by the phone including health care provider, Sheriff/police, Fire department, REMSA, and local utilities (Nevada Energy, phone provider, etc.)
  • Register for essential services/provide essential info. Give your support network critical health information they can share with responders. Register with your local utility as a "priority" electrical user if you require an oxygen system or similar electrical medical equipment.
  • Be alert to emergency warnings.
  • Choose a contact person, preferably out of town, for every family member to contact in emergencies.
  • Plan how to stay informed. Consider having a battery powered radio on hand or a TV with a battery option.

How Prepared Are You?

Many of us have little discretionary time, so making a preparedness plan can seem overwhelming. By answering these eight simple questions, you can determine how much you may have already done to prepare for an emergency.

  1. Do I have family and friends to help me in an emergency?
  2. Do I know whom to contact and how to get help in an emergency?
  3. Do I have a supply kit of food, water, medications, etc. in case I am without help or essential services during an emergency?
  4. Have I made a plan for how to evacuate my home during an emergency?
  5. Do I know how to "shelter in place" in case evacuation is unsafe or unnecessary?
  6. Have I taken steps to help prevent certain types of emergencies at home?
  7. Do I know how to help prepare for and respond to different emergencies such as a flood or fire?
  8. Have I included my pet(s) in my emergency plans (if applicable?)