Public Health Emergency Preparedness


Public Health Emergency Preparedness

Are You Ready?

Disasters disrupt hundreds of thousands of lives every year and can occur at any time. The question is, will you and your family be ready when disaster strikes?  There are many things you and your family can do to prepare for a disaster like creating an emergency supplies kit, writing a family preparedness plan and practicing your plan, be informed about what might happen, and get involved in preparing your community.


Awareness Month


Financial Preparedness

Emergencies and disasters can be scary, but there are ways to help you stay safe before, during, and even after a disaster. Here, you can play games to become a Disaster Master and learn how to build an emergency kit. You will meet our friend Pedro the Penguin, who will teach you all about staying safe. You will even be able to make your own emergency plan with your family.

Games | 

Are you ready? These games will test your know-how in a wide range of emergencies and teach you how to build the emergency kit. Play Disaster Master and Build a Kit online and order the Ready 2 Help card game today.

Prepare with Pedro | 

Prepare with Pedro is a free youth preparedness program created by the American Red Cross, and we are proud to partner with them to offer the Prepare with Pedro: Disaster Preparedness Activity Book. This resource is designed to teach young children and their families how to stay safe during disasters and emergencies through fun activities such as crosswords, coloring pages, matching games, and more!

The activity book is available for digital download in six different languages and available to order in English and Spanish for free from the FEMA warehouse. 

Have a family night - talk about disasters and see what everybody knows and what you can do to help if a disaster happens. 

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. And, don’t forget to think about specific needs in your family. Your family’s needs change over time, so update your plan regularly.

Kids sitting in a row looking at their cell phones

Who Will We Contact?

Pick the same person for each family member to contact. Pick someone out of town—they may be easier to reach in a disaster.

Text, don’t talk. In an emergency, phone lines may be tied up. It may be easier to text and this leaves phone lines open for emergency workers.

Family sitting around a table working on their Family Communications Plan

Where Will We Meet?

Decide on safe, familiar, accessible places where your family can go for protection or to reunite. If you have pets or service animals, think about animal-friendly locations. Consider places in your house, in your neighborhood, and outside of your city or town so you’re prepared for any situation.

A girl making a plan using a Family Emergency Communication Plan sheet

Practice, Practice, Practice!

On your own list or using the resources below, write down your contacts and plans. Make sure everyone in the family has copies and keeps them in a safe space, like in a backpack, wallet, or taped in a notebook. Put them in your cell phone if you have one. Hold regular household meetings to review and practice your plan.


Build a Kit

Assemble a 72-hour emergency supplies kit for you and your family. Your kit should have all the necessary items to be self-sufficient for a minimum of 72 hours. Having essential items on hand will be a great comfort in an emergency. View a list of supplies your emergency kit should contain.

Make a plan

Develop a family communication plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so plan how you will contact one another and review what you will do in different situations. Consider a plan where each family member calls, texts, or emails the same friend or relative in the event of an emergency. Have an out-of-state contact. It may be easier to make long-distance phone calls than to call across town.


An emergency can happen anytime and anywhere. practice often helps people feel less disoriented and better organized during a disaster - even in the middle of the night or winter.  You should practice as a family at least once a year. an example could be to:

  • Show each member of the mainly where and how to turn off the water, electricity, and gas in your home. (prepare easy to see signs for water and gas shut-offs as well as the main circuit breaker).
  • Each person should also know where to find the fire extinguisher and how to use it in case of fire ( and the fire alarm if you are in an apartment building)
  • Put yourself physically in each room of your home and practice evacuation(don't forget your emergency kit!)

PHEP Programs

Helpful Tools

State of Montana Public Health Partners        

Public Health emergencies can arise anywhere. Natural, technological, and human-caused disasters can impact Montana at any time. Public health hazards in Montana may result from communicable disease outbreaks, food and water contamination, chemical spills, wildland fires, and smoke, drought, flooding, earthquakes, tornadoes, and avalanches.

As part of the DPHHS Communicable Disease Control & Prevention Bureau, Montana's Public Health Emergency Preparedness works to help local and tribal health jurisdictions prepare for and respond to health emergencies, coordinate local surveillance and response systems, and keep Montana citizens informed of any public health-related emergencies.

Federal grant funds strengthen public health and hospital preparedness on a state, regional, and local level throughout Montana, with the majority of funds distributed to local and tribal health partners.

Our Mission Statement: DPHHS Emergency Preparedness program builds, supports, and strengthens resilience in both Montana communities and the Department through leadership and collaborative partnerships to effectively prepare for, respond to, and recover from adverse events that affect the public’s health.

If you have questions regarding the type of planning that this program participates in, please call 406-563-7863