Important phone numbers to know before a disaster happens

Having a written record makes it easy to stay organized, visualize your resources, and will be available when the power or internet isn’t functioning. 

Document all the government resources and people you can count on in an emergency. Don’t stop with this list. If there are other services you’ll want to reach out to in an emergency don’t forget to add them as well.

Government and services

You used to find all these numbers in the front of a phone book, but today they are all on a website. Do the research now while you’re not stressed out, and your internet works.

For your city

  1. Police Emergency 911 
  2. City Police Non-Emergency 311 
  3. Direct Police Emergency Call this number when you need help, but it’s not life threatening. 911 will be tied up with people who have life threatening situations in a disaster. 
  4. City Hall Take a break from complaining about the government. Your taxes pay for city hall to prepare for disasters. During an emergency it’s time to get to know city hall better. 

For your county

  1. Animal Care and Services Call this office if you encounter an injured animal. 
  2. Emergency Management These folks are responsible for overseeing and coordinating emergency preparedness, response, recovery and homeland security activities within your county. 
  3. County Water Management District This is the number to report flooding or issues with water. 

For your state

  1. Department of Insurance The state agency responsible for consumer protection for issues with insurance. 
  2. State Division of Emergency Management These folks are responsible for overseeing and coordinating emergency preparedness, response, recovery and homeland security activities within your state. 
  3. State Relay Service This is a service for people who have limitations with hearing or speaking. 


  1. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) (800) 621-3362, or, is the federal agency responsible for leading the Nation's efforts to prepare for, protect and mitigate against, respond to, and recover from the impacts of natural disasters and man-made incidents or terrorist events. If they’re in your town it’s officially a disaster, and they’re there to help you. 

Your company

If there’s a small emergency you’ll probably want to let your manager know you’re not coming in. If you work for a larger company, don’t forget that they actually have a lot of services available that you can tap into during a disaster. These could include security, HR, emergency services, and more.


Following the important public government and service numbers, you can list all of your personal resources.

P1 Personal

These are people in your immediate family, and nearby friends, who you can count on in an emergency. You should also include people you may need to contact right away such as a manager, landlord, school or caregivers. Everyone on this list will want to know you’re safe. Save them the aggravation and let them know all is well, or if you need help.

P2 Personal

Now expand on your contacts to extended family and friends who you can contact if you need help. Include both people nearby as well as people in other states and countries. Sometimes you’ll need to reach outside of your area to get help.

P3 Personal

In this section list all the important numbers, and details such as account numbers, for businesses such as your pharmacy, hospital, pediatrician, dentist, veterinarian, kennel, electric company, gas company, water company, etc. You have all this information somewhere. When you start to put the pieces back together it’s reassuring to know that you have everything in one place in your Emergency Picnic Playbook.


You pay dearly for insurance services, during a disaster it’s time for them to do their job. Include home, renter’s, auto, road service, life, health insurance, and more.


List all your important financial institutions, including account numbers, for checking and savings, lenders, investments, credit cards, credit unions, retirement accounts, healthcare savings, etc. Include all accounts including those for your spouse, kids, etc.