Preparation for natural disasters is extremely important, especially when living or visiting in an area like El Salvador with significant seismic activity, seven active volcanoes, and a rainy season that produces severe flooding and mudslides. Over the last several years, these natural occurrences have taken lives, destroyed infrastructure, and displaced thousands.
Listed below are some of the most important things that you and your family can do to ensure that you are ready in the event of a natural disaster:
Assemble all vital documents such as passports, birth and marriage records, vaccination, insurance and bank records in one readily accessible location; keep photocopies of all these documents in a separate, secure location.
Check to be sure your passport and any necessary visas are valid and that you are registered at the Embassy/Consulate with your current address and phone number. If you need to obtain a new passport or to update your registration, please do so at the Embassy as soon as possible.
Visa processing can take several weeks. Immediate family members should keep their U.S. visas current. (They should apply for visas with as much time in advance of any planned travel as possible.)
Make, or update as necessary, a complete inventory of your household effects in duplicate.
Maintain an adequate supply of food, water, and necessary medications in your home. Make sure your car is in good working order. Keep the gas tank full and check oil, coolant, tires, and battery.
Designate a friend or family member in the U.S. as a central point of contact. Give them a list of people to distribute information to in the event of a personal or large scale crisis. Make sure friends and family know who this person is. In the event of a personal emergency or large scale crisis, you can update all of your contacts with a single phone call or message.
Please remember that in a crisis, the Embassy's number one priority will be to locate and account for American Citizens who are affected by the event. Having a designated contact person and updated registration information will help us help you and avoid tying up phone lines and resources.
Emergency Planning Resources
The information provided here is just the first step in preparing a comprehensive emergency plan for your family. It is also important to know where to turn to when a disaster actually hits. Please review the following websites for more information:
Department of State:
Federal Emergency Management Agency:
NOAA Hurricane Preparedness:
Center for Disease Control:
The following websites are also good sources for up to date situation reports:
National Hurricane Center:
Government of El Salvador Civil Defense (Notices):
Government of El Salvador Weather Service: