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Simple Preparedness Tips to Help You, Your Family, and Neighbors Stay Safe in an Emergency on Cape Cod

Planning for an emergency can feel like a daunting process, especially when it’s hard to imagine a situation severe enough to warrant the effort. Below is a list of simple items you can tackle day by day…for only minutes at a time. While it may seem like a chore now, being safe and ready is a GREAT feeling that you won’t regret (even if the emergency never happens).

Prepare Yourself

What would you need if your power, cell service, and internet was out for a day or week?

Think about the things you would need to stay safe and update your plans and supplies to be better prepared.

Build an Emergency Kit |

Power Outage Safety Tips |

Plan with Your Family

Your family may not be together when disaster strikes.

Make an emergency plan that includes two meeting locations – one close to home and one farther away.

Make a Family Emergency Plan |

Plan for Everyone’s Needs

If you receive medical treatments or home health care services, work with your medical provider to determine how to maintain care and service if you are unable to leave your home during a hurricane or other emergency.

Emergency Preparedness for Individuals with Disabilities and Access and Functional Needs |

Individuals with Disabilities |

Older Adults |

Teach Your Kids

Teach your kids how to communicate during an emergency.


  1. Dialing 9-1-1 for help
  2. Emergency contact numbers
  3. Sending text messages

Welcome to Ready Kids! |

Make a Plan |

How To Teach Kids to Call 911 in the Cell Phone Age

Check Your Supplies

Check the flashlights, batteries, and conditions and expiration date of your emergency supplies.

Restock or replace any items as necessary. Re-think your emergency kit needs every year and make updates as your needs change.

Build A Kit |

Printable Emergency Supply Checklist –

Gather Necessities

This week when you get your groceries, buy water to include with your supplies.

  • 1 gallon of water per person/per day for at least three days.
  • Kids, nursing mothers, pet owners and those with medical conditions may need more.

Food |

Plan for Pets

Pets are important members of many households, and like people, they are affected by disasters.

Make an emergency plan for your pets and service animals – what you’d need, where you’d take them, and more.

Prepare Your Pets for Disasters |

Be Prepared on the Go

Buy at least one item for an emergency kit for your car – things you may need in winter and year round: phone charger, first aid kit, food, flashlight, tools, blankets, and more.

Helpful links for more information:

Emergency Car Kit – National Safety Council (

Car Safety |

Help Each Other/Volunteer

Help a friend, family member, or neighbor prepare for emergencies by gathering supplies, sharing your emergency plan, or helping prepare their home. Or volunteer in your community!

Consider joining the Cape Cod Medical Reserve Corps (you don’t need to have a clinical/medical background to volunteer!) or your local Community Emergency Response (CERT) team. Emergency personnel train members of neighborhoods, community organizations, or workplaces in basic response skills. The trainees are then integrated into the emergency response capability for their area.

Remember, the FIRST responder is YOU. The true first responders in any emergency are the every day people living and working in their communities!

Helpful links for more information:

Infographic: Prepare for Everywhere – Neighborhood Preparedness | CDC

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) |

Cape Cod Medical Reserve Corps

Prepare to Evacuate

Spend 10 minutes making an evacuation plan. Local officials may call for evacuations of vulnerable areas of Cape Cod at risk of storm surge inundation and flooding from severe weather events.


  • Where you would go
  • How you would get there
  • What you’d take with you

Also, take a look at the Cape Cod Emergency Traffic Plan. It’s not as simple as driving west over the bridges; there will likely be temporary road and ramp closures and other changes to normal traffic patterns to eliminate congestion and keep traffic flowing. Understanding the traffic plan will help you make better decisions during an event that prompts a large volume of people to travel inland.

Know your Hazards

Residents can be impacted by a range of severe weather, natural hazards, and man-made threats. It’s important to think about about the types of emergencies likely to impact Massachusetts and your area and how to prepare for them.

For example, do you live in a flood zone? Look up and learn about your flood zone at While you may be required to have flood insurance if you live in a flood zone, you can buy flood insurance even if you don’t live in a flood zone. Either way, it can never hurt to review your insurance policies to see if you have adequate coverage for any and all hazards.

Also, an excellent resource for homeowner’s on Cape Cod is the Massachusetts Homeowner’s Handbook to Prepare for Coastal Hazards. The handbook was developed in collaboration with top federal, state, and local emergency agencies to “increase the resiliency of coastal communities to natural hazards by encouraging actions that reduce the risk to family and property”.

MA-Homeowners-Handbook-2020.pdf (

Save your Documents

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA),

“When disaster strikes, your immediate concern will be your safety and the safety of those you care about. Once the immediate danger passes, however, having your financial and medical records and important contact information will be crucial to help you start the recovery process quickly. Taking time now to safeguard these critical documents will give you peace of mind, ensure you have access to essential medical and prescription information, and help you avoid additional stress during the difficult days following a disaster.”

Safeguard Critical Documents and Valuables (

Keep Records

Inventory and photograph the contents of your home which you may need for your insurance after a disaster.

Document and Insure Your Property (

Plan Financially

Put a small mount of cash aside in a safe place or with emergency supplies for use in an emergency.

ATMs and credit card machines won’t always be available after a disaster or power outage.

Financial Preparedness |

Build Your Medical Kit

This week when you’re shopping, buy any extra medical items, supplies, and a first aid kit so that you have the things you may need to stay safe during an emergency. Also, and this IMPORTANT: Make sure you have all of your prescriptions and medications at the ready in case you have to leave your home in a hurry. This takes some time and planning so don’t wait for the last minute!

Make a First Aid Kit | Supplies & Contents | American Red Cross

Preparing Your Medicine Cabinet for an Emergency: A Checklist | Blogs | CDC

Stay Informed and Connected

Contact your local public safety officials to learn about local notification and alert systems and how to enroll to receive community alerts.

For radio information, it’s important to know that the designated Emergency Alert Radio Station on Cape Cod is WQRC 99.9 FM, with WBZ 1030 AM as an alternate.

Be Informed and Receive Emergency Alerts |

Download the FEMA App

Download an emergency preparedness app for your smartphone.

One suggestion is the FEMA app which includes weather alerts, safety tips, and more.

FEMA App: Take Charge of Disasters |

Follow Local Agencies

Many people are unaware that Cape Cod has an Regional Emergency Planning Committee (REPC), which conducts “all hazards” emergency coordination in order to address homeland security, meteorological events, public health matters, and regional sheltering issues.

The REPC represents all 15 Cape Cod towns and Nantucket. During an emergency, town and local representatives (from first responders, to DPW directors, to utilities and more) meet twice daily to coordinate response efforts.

The REPC is constantly looking for ways to communicate quickly and effectively with residents and visitors on Cape Cod. For more information, please follow us on Facebook at Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee | Facebook or Twitter at Barnstable County REPC (@bcrepc) / Twitter.

Plan Outside Your Home

Emergencies can strike at any time – learn about emergency plans at your workplace, children’s school or daycare, or other places where your family spends time.

Plan for Locations |