Be Prepared

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An emergency can happen at any time with little or no notice. Use the emergency preparedness and resilience resources below to prepare you, your loved ones, or your business for a disaster. Please feel free to share with your network of colleagues, clients, family and friends!

For assistance with accessing tools and/or to request alternative formats, please contact

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Make a Plan

Make a plan. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area. Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.  

Not sure where to start? Use our "Emergency Plan" template (en español). 

Find additional resources to make your emergency plan. 

Gather Emergency Supplies or Build a Kit

After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water, and other supplies to last for several days. Gather emergency supplies, and if possible, build an emergency kit, to help you prepare for an emergency.

Not sure where to start? Use our "Emergency Plan" template (en español).

Find more resources to help you gather emergency supplies or build a kit.

Low and No Cost Preparedness

Disasters are costly but preparing for them doesn’t have to be. Taking time to prepare now can help save you thousands of dollars and give you peace of mind when the next disaster or emergency occurs.

Use our bilingual budget-friendly tip-sheet for low and no cost preparedness suggestions.

Find additional low and no cost preparedness resources. 

Financial Preparedness

Americans at all income levels have experienced the challenges of rebuilding their lives after a disaster or other emergency. In these stressful times, having access to personal financial, insurance, medical and other records is crucial for starting the recovery process quickly and efficiently. 

Find financial preparedness resources.

Get Tech Ready

Technology has made it easier than ever to prepare for emergencies, but it can be unreliable in an emergency if you haven’t kept your gadgets protected and powered up.

Find resources to help you get tech ready.

Home Fire Escape Plan

Safety Skills


Sheltering is appropriate when conditions require that you seek protection in your home, where you work or other location when other emergencies arise. The length of time you are required to take shelter may be short, such as during a tornado warning, or during a pandemic. In all cases, it is important that you stay informed and follow the instructions of local authorities.

Find sheltering resources.


Many kinds of emergencies can cause you to have to evacuate. In some cases, you may have a day or two to prepare while other situations might call for an immediate evacuation. Planning is vital to making sure that you can evacuate quickly and safely no matter what the circumstances.

Find resources to help you plan for an evacuation.

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Planning for Multi-Family Buildings & Frequented Locations

Many emergencies and disasters occur without any warning. Since you can’t predict where you will be for disasters, it is important to have plans and supplies for the places you and your household go to regularly, like school or the workplace.

If you live in a multi-family building, like an apartment of condominium, make sure to include building-specific info in you emergency planning.

Find resources for multi-family buildings and frequented locations.

Older Adults

Older adults may face some challenges during an emergency. For example, an older adult may have mobility problems, or chronic health conditions, or may not have any family or friends nearby to them.

Find preparedness resources for older adults.

Find resources from the National Council on Aging (NCOA).

Individuals with Disabilities

Disability intersects every demographic group—there are people with disabilities of all ages, races, genders or national origin. Disabilities can impact a person in a variety of ways—both visible and invisible. For people with disabilities and their families, it is important to consider individual circumstances and needs to effectively prepare for emergencies and disasters. 

Find preparedness resources for individuals with disabilities. 

Teach Your Kids to Prepare

Disasters happen everywhere, and every member of the family can prepare. Preparedness for the future starts today.

Whether you’re a kid or teen yourself, a parent or loved one, or work with youth, Ready Kids has tools and information to help before, during and after disasters.

Find ways to help kids prepare for an emergency.

Pet Preparedness

Your pets are an important member of your family, so they need to be included in your family’s emergency plan.

Find resources to prepare your pets for an emergency. 

Find Animal Welfare of Arlington (AWLA) pet disaster prep resources.

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Business Resiliency

Business resilience is the ability of an organization to quickly adapt to disruptions while maintaining continuous business operations and safeguarding people, assets and overall brand equity.

Find resources to ensure your business is resilient.

Find Arlington Economic Development (AED) info for small businesses.

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Flooding is a temporary overflow of water onto land that is normally dry. Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States and in Arlington County.

Find flooding preparedness resources.

Learn how Arlington County prepares for weather-related emergencies.

Thunderstorms & Lightning

Lightning is a leading cause of injury and death from weather-related hazards. Although most lightning victims survive, people struck by lightning often report a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms.

Thunderstorms are dangerous storms that include lightning and can create or cause:

Find resources to prepare for thunderstorms and lightning.


Winter Weather

Winter storms create a higher risk of car accidents, hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning, and heart attacks from overexertion. Winter storms including blizzards can bring extreme cold, freezing rain, snow, ice and high winds.

Free Place to Stay Warm: Community centers, libraries, and shopping malls

For Assistance with Heat Repairs or Utility Bills: Call 703-228-1350

For Temporary Shelter Assistance (if unhoused): Call 703-228-1010

Find resources to help you prepare for winter weather.

Find out how Arlington County prepares for weather-related emergencies.

Extreme Heat

Extreme heat is a period of high heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees for at least two to three days. In extreme heat your body works extra hard to maintain a normal temperature, which can lead to death.

Free Place to Keep Cool: Spraygrounds, community centers, libraries, and shopping malls

For Assistance with A/C Repairs or Utility Bills: Call 703-228-1350

For Temporary Shelter Assistance (if unhoused): Call 703-228-1010

Find resources to help you prepare for extreme heat.

Find additional County resources to help you beat the heat.

Power Outages

Extended power outages may impact the whole community and the economy. A power outage is when the electrical power goes out unexpectedly.

A power outage may:

  • Disrupt communications, water and transportation.
  • Close retail businesses, grocery stores, gas stations, ATMs, banks and other services.
  • Cause food spoilage and water contamination.
  • Prevent use of medical devices.

Find power outage tips.

Air Quality

Although regional air quality is improving, pollution still threatens the health of 7.5 million people in our region and creates harmful effects on the environment and our ecosystems. Poor air quality days impact our friends, neighbors, children, family, coworkers, and our environment.

Find today's air quality index and resources.


Cyberattacks are malicious attempts to access or damage a computer or network system. Cyberattacks can lead to the loss of money or the theft of personal, financial and medical information. Cybersecurity involves preventing, detecting and responding to those cyberattacks that can have wide-ranging effects on individuals, organizations, the community and the nation.

Find resources to protect you from a cyberattack.


Hurricanes are dangerous and can cause major damage from storm surge, wind damage, rip currents and flooding. They can happen along any U.S. coast or in any territory in the Atlantic or Pacific oceans. Storm surge historically is the leading cause of hurricane-related deaths in the United States.

Find resources to help prepare for hurricanes.


Tornadoes are violently rotating columns of air that extend from a thunderstorm to the ground. Tornadoes can destroy buildings, flip cars, and create deadly flying debris.

A tornado can:

  • Happen anytime and anywhere.
  • Bring intense winds, over 200 miles per hour.
  • Look like funnels.

Find resources to prepare for a tornado.