Preparedness Newsletter

This Digest is provided by FEMA's Individual & Community Preparedness Division to highlight community preparedness and resilience resources, an important part of FEMA's mission to help people before, during, and after disasters. We're building a culture of preparedness together.

June 2021 Individual and Community Preparedness Newsletter: Prepare Your Youth for Disasters, Pet Preparedness, Atlantic Hurricane Season Begins, and More

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Ready Tips

Prepare Your Pets for Disasters

As you prepare for emergencies, make sure you have a plan for Fluffy and Fido, too. If sudden emergencies or storms arise, evacuation or sheltering will be less stressful for you and your family, including your pets if you have a plan in place.

You may need to evacuate quickly, so having all the pet supplies you need and a safe place for your pets to ride out the storm will make them more comfortable. Talking with your vet or friends who have pets can give you some ideas and advice on how to plan for these emergencies.

Here are some tips to keep your furry friends safe:

Have an evacuation plan

Many public shelters and hotels do not allow pets inside, so plan ahead .

  • Know a safe place where you can take your pets before disasters and emergencies happen. Get the latest CDC guidelines on COVID-19 for sheltering with your pets .  
  • Plan with neighbors, friends or relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so.
  • Contact your local emergency management office, animal shelter, or animal control office if you're unsure how to take care of your pet during an emergency.
  • Have your pets microchipped in case they get lost.

Make emergency kits for your pet

Think first about the basics for survival, such as food and water. Have two kits: a larger one if you are sheltering in place and a lightweight, smaller version if you need to evacuate. Review your kits regularly to ensure that their contents, especially foods and medicines, are fresh.

These are some items you may want to include:

  • Several days' supply of food in an airtight, waterproof container.
  • Water and bowl with several days' supply of water.
  • Medicines your pet takes regularly.
  • Collar with ID tag and a harness or leash.
  • Crate or sturdy carrier for each pet.
  • Grooming items.
  • Sanitation needs, such as litter and litter box, newspapers, paper towels, and plastic trash bags.
  • A picture of you and your pet together. This will help you document ownership and allow others to assist you in identifying your pet.
  • Favorite toys and bedding that can reduce stress for your pet.

Visit to learn more about preparing your pets for disasters or emergencies.

Leadership Spotlight

FEMA's National Advisor on Children and Disasters Talks about Preparing Kids

First came the deadly tsunami in Thailand in 2004. A year later, Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana. These two disasters propelled Lauralee Koziol on the path to becoming FEMA's National Advisor on Children and Disasters.

“The catastrophic nature of these disasters, which resulted in the separation of children from their parents and guardians, lit a fire inside, pushing me to do whatever I could to help in avoiding a similar scenario from happening in the future,” says Koziol.

For the last eleven years, Koziol has been responsible for leading FEMA's work to ensure that the needs of children are part of disaster planning, preparedness, response, and recovery. She notes that many resources and processes have been developed throughout FEMA to better address children's disaster-related needs.

These include providing infant and toddler supplies, developing technology (Unaccompanied Minors Registry) and national guidance on reunifying family members after a disaster, and allowing for child coordinators in the Crisis Counseling Program. Koziol says her goal is to work with partners both inside and outside of government to ensure this help is built into training, preparedness plans, exercises, and other field resources.

At the same time, families must work together to prepare for disasters, she says.

“Like most things, disasters are less scary when you [understand] them and the knowledge of steps you can take to protect yourself. Teaching children and youth about disasters and the basics of emergency preparedness can help to ensure a child's safety and well-being. It can also encourage family members to be better prepared, empower and build confidence in children of all ages, and help to alleviate anxiety in the event of a disaster,” she says.

Koziol offers this advice to families to prepare for disasters:

  • Create a family communication plan , and share it with family and friends who live locally and out of town. This is especially important if you live in an area that may experience disasters that strike with very little notice like earthquakes and tsunamis. Ensure that everyone has the most important phone numbers memorized.
  • Know the evacuation and reunification plans of your child's school or daycare, and make sure that they have your current contact information.
  • Build an emergency preparedness kit , and be sure to include age-appropriate supplies, such as infant formula, baby food, diapers, wipes, medicines, electrolytes, and hand sanitizer. Have your children help by asking them to include a favorite stuffed animal or book. You may not have internet or electricity, so include playing cards or a favorite game. It may also be helpful to include fidget toys, like squishy balls, to calm anxiety.
  • Encourage kids to talk and ask questions. Discuss their concerns and explain as simply as possible what is happening. You may want to limit television and media coverage. Listen for any underlying fears that your children have, while reassuring them that you are taking steps to keep them safe.

Interested in learning more about how you can engage your kids in helping to prepare? Visit where you can find free tools, resources, games, and more, designed specifically to help children learn on how to stay safe. 

Children & Disasters

Prepare with Pedro Now Available in Six Languages

From coloring pages to matching games, Pedro the penguin now helps children learn about disaster preparedness in six languages. The Prepare with Pedro : Disaster Preparedness Activity Book is available for free digital download and mail order in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, and both Simplified and Traditional Chinese.

The Prepare with Pedro Disaster Preparedness Activity Book was created in partnership with the American Red Cross . In the book, kids can follow Pedro around the United States as he learns safety advice for disasters. The 28-page book teaches young children about staying safe in thunderstorms, earthquakes, and other hazards. It also shows them the basics of making an emergency kit and family communication plan. Kids can learn about these topics through crossword puzzles, mazes, games, and more. Read more...

Step into Youth Preparedness this Summer

With summer approaching, learning about preparedness doesn't need to end because school's out. The updated Student Tools for Emergency Planning (STEP) curriculum and digital hazard lessons can be used at home on your computer or tablet. They also can be a part of scout, camp, or community activities.

STEP helps youth understand a variety of hazards, from tornadoes to pandemics, and how to stay safe. Lessons are tailored for students in the fourth and fifth grade but can be adjusted for older and younger students alike. Read More…


Important Dates


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FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

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