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Close up of papers, forms, brochures and pencil/pen on a table.Every year in the U.S., disasters turn lives upside down. Whether natural or man-made, disasters cause loss of life, environmental damage and exacerbate social and economic problems.

Preparing our community, families, homes, businesses and pets for unexpected disasters is a civic virtue. Planning for an emergency and compassionately coming to the aid of your community following a disaster can change lives, strengthen our nation and begin local recovery and renewal through community service. has made it a priority to support and expand the impact of volunteers who have stepped up to be a part of the solution. We maintain our sustained commitment to volunteers by supplying toolkits for grassroots efforts and providing training through Citizen Corps.

Disclaimer of Endorsement Toolkit references to any specific non-profit organization, commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise do not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the U.S. Government or any agency thereof.

Community Preparedness Project Toolkit

If you have an idea for a service project, you can learn how to turn your volunteer idea into a successful service project using our do-it-yourself toolkit.

Toolkit: Preparing Your Community for Disasters

Community Pet Preparedness Toolkit

The Ready Campaign, FEMA, Citizen Corps, American Red Cross, and The Humane Society of the United States have come together to develop an emergency preparedness toolkit that can assist you in planning to keep your community, and specifically, the pets and people who care for them, safe from disasters.

The toolkit provides you with the resources on how to stay current on your local pet disaster plan, policies and procedures; examples of how to promote preparedness in your communities and engage other organizations in your efforts; as well as resources to educate the community about how to assemble a pet emergency supply kit and make a family emergency plan. In addition, there is a tools section that provides sample preparedness brochures, PowerPoint templates and press materials you can use to develop and distribute your internal and external preparedness messaging.

Ready Responders Toolkit

First Responders serve a critical role in emergency operations whether preserving lives, protecting property or providing other essential services. It is vital that you and your agency take the steps necessary to prepare and plan. By ensuring that agencies have properly outlined how they will support staff and responders ensuring that their families are safe and protected, full attention, without distractions, can be turned to the life-saving missions that support the community.

The Ready Responder Toolkit (PDF - 2.8Mb) provides the resources, templates and information that can help agencies develop their own organizational preparedness plan, discuss procedures and decisions that could hinder response, and most importantly develop a culture of preparedness among their members.

Considerations in an Emergency for Response Personnel
  • You may have special concerns as a single parent, pet owner or care provider for a dependent loved one.
  • Lack of preparedness at home will impact your ability to do your job effectively and safely.
  • Your family members will likely have to survive on their own without you to make important decisions.
  • Preparing with your family ahead of time will reduce stress and uncertainty in the event of an emergency.
  • Working with your neighbors, relatives and friends will improve your ability to care for your loved ones following a disaster.
  • Families where both parents are responders have special circumstances. You will need to have a family support network that can care for your children, pets, property, dependents or those with access and functional needs and should notify their supervisor of their family situation.
  • Communications with your loved ones may be difficult.
  • You may be separated when an emergency occurs and may be unable to care for your family.
  • You may be working in very stressful conditions for extended amounts of time.
  • You may be required to work extra shifts without knowing where or how your family is.
  • You may not know the condition of your home or other property.
Considerations For Agency’s Preparedness
  • Members may not respond if they are unsure of the safety of their families.
  • Agencies should determine disaster policies and clearly communicate them to members so there is a clear understanding of what will occur.
  • Past experience and recent studies have enforced the importance of organization sponsored programs for their members.