The best time to prepare for an emergency is before it happens. Print out the checklists and information sheets below and keep copies in an easy-to-reach location for immediate reference.

Make a Plan (PDF)

After a major disaster, it is unlikely that emergency response services will be able to immediately respond to everyone's needs, so it's important to be prepared. The Make a Plan checklist will help you and your family prepare for an emergency.

  • For more information on what to include in a pet plan and kit, see the Animal Care and Control website
  • To stay connected with your family after a locally declared disaster, register yourself on the Safe and Well website, which is a service provided by the American Red Cross.  Through this site, you can post messages to your family and they will know that you are safe and well.

Build a Kit (PDF)

After a major disaster the usual services we take for granted, such as running water, refrigeration, and telephones may be unavailable. The Build a Kit checklist will enable you and your family to be self-sufficient for at least three days.

Be Prepared at Work (PDF)

This checklist will help you in the event that a disaster strikes while you are at work.

  • To ensure that you continue to be paid and receive payroll information in a timely fashion following a disaster, Enroll in Direct Deposit and Paystub Online today.
  • For information on opening a bank account, call 211 for the Bank on San Francisco program.

DSW Job Categories and Examples of Duties (PDF)

This one page document provides an overview of what to expect as a disaster service worker.

Phone tips from

  • Plan for how you will communicate with loved ones after a disaster.
  • Long-distance phone lines often work before local phone lines, so identify an out-of-state contact and provide this person with the contact information of people you want to keep informed of your situation. Share this information with your family and friends locally.
  • Avoid making non-urgent phone calls after a disaster – even if phone lines are un-damaged, increased phone traffic can jam phone circuits. Cordless phones or phone systems require electricity; make sure you have a backup phone that requires no electricity.
  • Keep coins in your Go-bag. Payphones may work before other phone lines.
  • Don’t count on your cell phone - increased traffic on cell phone networks can quickly overload wireless capacity.
  • Record an outgoing message on your voicemail so that callers can be re-assured of your safety status.
  • Learn how to use text messaging. It uses a different part of the cell phone network and it might be possible to send and receive text messages when voice channels for mobile phones and land lines are jammed.
  • Register your email addresses and wireless devices (mobile phones, pagers and PDAs) at When possible, the City will send text alerts about potential hazards and/or post disaster information. Examples include tsunami warnings and local disaster shelter locations.
  • After an earthquake, check all your telephones to be sure they have not shaken off the hook and are tying up a line.

Additional Resources

Additional Training

Employee Payroll Services

Department of Human Resources Emergency Plans