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How Can You Prepare for an Emergency?

The Right Supplies

Your family's preparation starts with three basic supplies:

  • A battery-powered radio with extra batteries. If the power goes out, a battery-powered radio is the only way to receive information.
  • Flashlights or battery-powered lanterns with extra batteries. Don’t use candles—they start fires.
  • Water to last three days. That’s at least one gallon per person per day for drinking and sanitation.

Please note that Baltimore County does not provide dry ice following power outages.

An Emergency Plan

A good home emergency plan includes family communication, insurance protection, protection of vital records and documents and caring for animals.

Caring for Pets

Pet owners must plan how they will care for their animals during an emergency. Preparing for your pets involves having the right supplies and knowing where you will take your pet if you need to evacuate.

Renter's Insurance

Emergency management officials find that most apartment dwellers do not have renter’s insurance to cover the loss of their belongings in case of a fire or other emergency – even though renter’s insurance is inexpensive, sometimes as little as $10 or $15 a month.

Many renters mistakenly assume that their belongings are covered under the landlord's insurance policies. This is not so. Renters must insure the value of their own possessions.

For more information about renter's assurance, visit the Maryland Insurance Administration and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Flood Insurance

Residents who live in flood-prone areas need to purchase flood insurance. Homeowner's policies do not cover flood damage. The National Flood Insurance Program provides flood insurance. 

Buy a Weather Alert Radio

Image of a weather alert radio.

Hazard alert radios have greatly enhanced our ability to be ready for weather events and some civil emergencies. Emergency managers recommend one for every home.

Shelter in Place or Evacuate?

During a major emergency, emergency responders will advise you to do one of two things: to "shelter in place" or evacuate. Make sure you understand these terms, and follow emergency managers' instructions!

"Caring About Preparing"

"Caring About Preparing—7 Weeks to a 72-Hour Kit" is a county program designed to provide citizens with a manageable plan for building a complete home emergency preparedness kit. "Caring About Preparing" gives you specific emergency supplies to purchase each week for a seven-week period.

National Terrorism Advisory System

The National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) communicates information about terrorist threats by providing timely, detailed information to the public, government agencies, first responders, airports and other transportation hubs and the private sector.

It recognizes that Americans all share responsibility for the nation's security. We should be aware of the heightened risk of terrorist attack in the United States and know what we should do.

Additional Resources

Many resources are available to help you prepare for an emergency. Baltimore County's emergency management experts recommend the following:

The Ready Set Good logo.
    This emergency preparedness site is tailored for residents of the Baltimore region.
    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has prepared a comprehensive, online disaster preparedness resource for families, businesses and children. The site includes handy supply checklists.
    The Red Cross's family preparedness site includes a detailed section on persons with disabilities.
  • Are You Ready? A Guide to Citizen Preparedness
    A publication available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency providing facts on disaster survival techniques, disaster-specific information and how to prepare for and respond to natural and man-made disasters.
    The American Veterinary Medical Association provides detailed preparedness information for pets and other domestic animals.
    Browse materials, publications, maps, photographs, audio clips and video clips related to disasters and emergencies.
Revised September 25, 2018         


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Weather Alerts
Provided by NOAA


  1. Flash Flood Watch issued April 19 at 2:48AM EDT until April 20 at 5:00AM EDT by NWS

  2. Coastal Flood Advisory issued April 19 at 2:29AM EDT until April 19 at 11:00AM EDT by NWS


View All Weather Alerts

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