Emergencies happen quickly, giving you only minutes or seconds to react.
That's why during September, National Preparedness Month, state and local agencies are encouraging families to make a plan.
The American Red Cross suggests that families should put together an emergency kit that the family can use at home or take with them if they have to evacuate.
Emergency kits should contain a three-day supply of water (one gallon, per family member, per day), non-parishable food items, a flashlight, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, a 7-day supply of medications, a multi-purpose tool, sanitation and personal hygiene items and copies of important personal documents.
The Red Cross also says at least one family member should be trained in CPR or First Aid.
"If there's an emergency, and for some reason help would be delayed to your home, it's important that you're able to respond to an emergency," said Erin Miller with the Red Cross in Peoria.
Miller says plans should include ways to contact and find one another in case of a sudden emergency like a fire or tornado, and indentify an emergency contact person from outside the area in case local phone lines are overloaded or out of service.
The American Red Cross has disaster preparedness apps you can download to your phone free of charge.
The apps are even helpful in the midst of an emergency or disaster when connectivity can be an issue, with preloaded content on your phone.
For links to the American Red Cross apps, click HERE.