Quick tip: How is your city or town set up to handle emergencies? What are their plans?
Lest we think this doesn't matter, we need look no farther than what happened during (or better put, after) Hurricane Katrina. If your officials don't have a solid plan, that places far more responsibility on you.
Some might even argue that regardless of what your community's plans are, you must prepare and be ready for self-sustaining activities for at LEAST 72 hours. Depending on the emergency, some roads are so extensively blocked that aid can't get in. Period.
My husband viewed this when traveling great distances to help hurricane victims in 2004. It was so frustrating to be on one side of a huge morass of trees, knowing that it's impeding people's abilities to get to people on the other side. There are only so many helicopters to go around.
But still, it is essential to learn from your community leaders how you would be warned should there be an emergency.
Find out where they're most likely to station food aid, ice, diapers, etc., after an emergency.
What kind of assistance is there for the elderly? The disabled? Small children?
My son the first two years of life needed electricity, due to his nebulizer and other medical needs. If electricity stopped working, we would have had serious problems.
TIP: Call your main county office to find out which individual or office can get you this information. Then call that office and ask at least the above questions. Write them down in a new notebook that will become your emergency notebook. This will be something you'd keep in your 72-hour kit. It will have all your important information.
Ah, but builidng that will be an assignment for another day. If you don't have a 72-hour kits yet for your family, write that down on your calendar for sometime in the next 7 days! At least for today, call your county and learn your community's preparations for disasters. If they have none, volunteer to at least get them started!