Natural Disaster Response


There are real benefits to being prepared for a Natural Disaster.

Being prepared can reduce fear, anxiety, and losses that accompany disasters. Communities, families, and individuals should know what to seek shelter during a tornado. They should be ready to evacuate their homes and take refuge in public shelters and know how to care for their basic medical needs.


People also can reduce the impact of disasters (flood proofing, elevating a home or moving a home out of harm’s way, and securing items that could shake loose in an earthquake) and sometimes avoid the danger completely. (FEMA)

Are You Ready?

An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness

Are You Ready? An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness (P-2064) is FEMA’s most comprehensive source on individual, family, and community preparedness. The guide has been revised, updated, and enhanced in September 2020 to provide the public with the most current and up-to-date disaster preparedness information available.

Download complete guide (PDF)

Download individual sections

Is Your School Ready for an Earthquake?

Drill schedule – Special note: As of 2013, all four emergency response drills (fire, lockdown, severe weather and earthquake) must be conducted by the first 30 days of the new school year and must be conducted again in January. Use the following worksheet to plan drills for your school. Submit a copy of the schedule with your school’s plan, and use the original to document drills when they actually occur.

Kentucky Emergency Management and the Kentucky Center for School Safety (KCSS) worked two Kentucky school teachers to develop a KyEM Earthquake Awareness Educational Program and Earthquake Instructional Unit which targets third through fifth grades. This five hour educational awareness unit is designed to educate both children and adults in our communities.

Earthquake plans (part of School Emergency Management Plan)

Earthquake Safety Activities…This publication provides elementary school teachers with ready-to-use, hands-on activities that explain what happens during an earthquake, how to prepare for earthquake shaking, and how to stay safe during and after an earthquake. Included are a variety of handouts for students, including maps, songs, “hazard hunt” worksheets, and earthquake safety checklists.

Other Resources:

Are You Ready? An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness

Are You Ready Full Document (PDF 4MB)

Separated by Sections

Communication Plan Make a Family Communications Plan… Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to plan in advance: how you will contact one another … [PDF] Family Communications Plan

Kentucky Emergency Contact Information

Kentucky Department of Homeland Security – 200 Mero Street – Frankfort, KY 40622
– Phone: (502) 564.2081 – Fax: (502) 564.7764

Kentucky Emergency Management – 100 Minuteman Parkway – Frankfort, KY 40601
– Phone: Duty Officer: (502) 607-1638 or (800) 255-2587 (Severe weather downloadable documents)

Earthquake...Kentucky Law...Procedure...Duck and Cover

Triangle of Life …It is also contrary to Kentucky state law.

Just think about it. In your classroom there is a large TV on an elevated counter. The shaking begins and the TV is not anchored. The TV falls off of the counter. There are desks nearby. Are you safer kneeling next to a desk or under it? Needless to say, under the desk is safer. In the original Triangle email there is even a photo of a building collapse that shows the floor being held by a desk. The chair area under the desk is clearly the safest place, but the Triangle states you should kneel down next to it where a large amount of debris fell.

Confused? This includes official responses from local, state and federal agencies outlining why we use duck and cover procedure to follow during earthquakes instead of the “Triangle of Life”

Response to Triangle of Life (PDF)

National Disaster Resources

Earthquakes for Kids – (Earthquake Hazards Program) Includes various links for earthquake lessons.

Hurricanes – CDC – Includes information on how you can prepare before a hurricane, after a hurricane, and others resources.  Many of the resources about cleaning up, staying healthy, and avoiding risks after a hurricane are available in multiple languages.

FEMA for Kids: Tornadoes| – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – Useful resources for students, parents, and teachers.

Severe weather downloadable documents

CDC Earthquakes website – In MOST situations, you will reduce your chance of injury from falling objects (and even building collapse) if you immediately Drop! Cover! Hold On!

Preparing for Floods at K-12 Schools and School Districts – Preparing for Floods at Institutions of Higher Education & Preparing for Floods at State Education Agencies Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) – These fact sheets:  Describe how to incorporate flooding in emergency management planning and the six-step planning process; Provide flood-related preparedness activities for education agencies before, during, and after a flood emergency; and List key resources to support flood planning efforts. To complement these fact sheets, the REMS TA Center also released Resources on Preparing for Floods at Education Agencies.

Youth Emergency Preparedness Curriculum – Ready Kids – Emergency preparedness curriculum for grades 1-12 that teach kids what to do before, during, and after an emergency while fostering critical 21st-century skills such as problem solving, teamwork, creativity, leadership, and communication.

Being a Hero is Fun! – Here are two games for students that will test their know-how in a wide range of emergencies and teach them how to build the perfect emergency kit.

Prepare with Pedro – The Prepare with Pedro: Disaster Preparedness Activity Book, a joint product of FEMA and the American Red Cross, is designed to teach young children and their families about how to stay safe during disasters and emergencies. The book follows Pedro around the United States and offers safety advice alongside crosswords, coloring pages, matching games, and more. It is available in six languages.

Disaster Facts – Disasters don’t plan ahead. You can. Know what disasters and hazards could affect your area and learn what to do before, during, and after each type of emergency.

Youth Preparedness – – Starting or getting involved with a youth preparedness program is a great way to enhance a community’s resilience and help develop future generations of prepared adults. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers numerous resources that can help.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) provides materials to support schools and families regarding earthquake response and recovery.

Helping Children After a Natural Disaster – National Association of School Psychologists – Natural disasters can be especially traumatic for children and youth. … Immediate response efforts should emphasize teaching and reinforcing effective coping strategies, fostering supportive relationships, and helping children understand their reactions.

ShakeOut Drill Manual For K-12 Schools (ShakeOut) – The Earthquake Country Alliance created the Great California ShakeOut, an earthquake drill and preparedness activity in which everyone can participate, which has now spread to many other states and regions. Although they were created for ShakeOut drill events across the nation, the instructions can be used or adapted for earthquake drills anywhere and anytime. The following drill guidelines are designed for schools and each drill uses the general earthquake response of Drop, Cover, and Hold On as its foundation.

Returning to School After an Emergency or Disaster: Tips to Help Your Students Cope – CDC – Teachers have an important role to play in helping children both prepare for and recover after a public health emergency. These emergencies and disasters include natural events (such as severe weather, earthquakes, fires, floods, and tsunamis) … Steps are included to help students cope and recover.
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