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Disaster Preparedness: Are You Ready?

Free FEMA handbook helps you develop an emergency plan for your home and community

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) wrote the book on disaster preparedness — or at least this one, which is free for the asking.

Are You Ready? An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness is FEMA's most comprehensive guide to disaster planning. It covers all the basics and then some — everything from putting together an emergency family communications plan to what to do before, during and after specific types of disasters (floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, thunderstorms and lightning strikes, fires, earthquakes — even mudslides and chemical spills).

You can download the 203-page handbook as a PDF or get a single printed copy for free by calling the FEMA publications warehouse at 1-800-480-2520. (A Spanish-language version is available only as a free download in PDF form.)

FEMA also offers a companion Are You Ready "Facilitator Guide," complete with a resource CD, for those who want to cover the same ground in a small group or classroom setting. You can obtain a free copy by calling the FEMA publications warehouse at the number listed above.