Homeland Security has a site dedicated to National Preparedness Month if you want to make faster progress or get an overview of the steps of preparation. Homeland Security Suggests: Get a Kit, Make a Plan, and Be Informed. I think we’ll start with Making a Plan first.
Create an Emergency Plan
Designate a family or friend to be your contact person(s). It may be better to choose a person outside your local area, as it may be easier to make a long distance call than a local call if your town is experiencing an emergency.
Make sure your children, siblings, parents, and other important people have the phone number(s) of the contact person(s). For example, I have chosen my parents who live in another state to be our contact people. My siblings are our alternative contact people. I have given our children the phone numbers for each one.
Those phone numbers should be placed in a wallet or on a cell phone so they are available at all times. Each person should have a cell phone, pre-paid calling card, or coins for a pay phone (are there such things anymore?) with them at all times, as well.
You may also want to designate a local location to meet should your home be destroyed or unavailable – a local school, church, or friend’s home within walking distance. The police station would be a good check-in spot as well. If your city designates check-in locations, heed those.
Create a plan for various scenarios: you're at work, you're at home, your family members are at work/school/day care/other events. Will you or your spouse pick your children up from school? Will they ride the bus home? Talk through these plans with your family members. Review periodically.
Resource: National Preparedness Month
What have you done to prepare for emergencies?