When disaster strikes, be ready to help yourself and your family so that you can aid efforts to help others, federal emergency management officials say.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is challenging families to make a resolution in 2020 to be better prepared for hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, tornados, floods, power outages and other threats.

FEMA's assistant administrator for grant programs, Bridget Bean, said taking a few simple steps now can better prepare families to respond to and recover from and emergencies.

Bean said this sort of preparedness goes from the individual to the community level. In emergency situations, individuals are often the first responders. If individuals can take care of themselves, they free up some of the emergency managers to take care of more severe situations.

FEMA's website, ready.gov, has tips in English and Spanish and a link to the FEMA app with real-time alerts and shelter information.

Bean recommends having an emergency kit in both the home and car.

Nobody knows when or where a disaster will strike so it's best to have supplies in a "go bag" that families can carry if they need to evacuate.

Bean suggests having bott;ed water, non-perishable food and extra cash on hand. If ATMs go down in the area and there's no electricity, it's good to have money.

Keep more than a half tank of gas in the car and check the tires frequently.

In the car emergency kit, keep flashlights, batteries, blankets, extra sweatshirts and a small shovel.

At home, keep about a gallon of drinking water per person for three to five days.

It's a good idea to have a radio handy to get emergency alerts and have a list of emergency phone numbers to keep in contact through text messaging.

Bean said the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to disasters is either not being prepared at all or waiting until it's too late. She said it's important to talk with your family about the emergency plan.

It's possible everyone may get separated. So how are you going to communicate? What is the meeting place? Who is the central point person to contact?

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