Help! A Survival Guide to Life's Emergencies

Written by Angie's List Staff
Updated June 30, 2015
help emergency guide
Photo by Brandon Smith; Illustration by Matt Mukerjee and Leslie McFarland

Emergencies happen to all of us, in all areas of life. But you can and will make it through, especially if you follow this one simple rule: Don’t panic.

Easier said than done. We know. That’s why Angie's List Newsroom editors created this handy online guide, designed to give you quick access to help you navigate through many common emergencies.

Bookmark this page, so you can access it quickly when when an emergency arises. If we're missing something, let us know in the comments below.

home graphic
Photo by Eldon Lindsay; illustration by Matt Mukerjee and Leslie McFarland

Ahhh, home. It’s where you eat, sleep, play and relax. It’s your sanctuary away from the craziness of the world. Wait a second ... what’s that sound? Ugh, what’s that smell?!? Unfortunately, your castle can succumb to an invasion of incredible circumstances that require immediate attention. Here’s what to do when disaster comes knocking.

My kitchen's on fireThe tornado warning sirens just went offThat hailstorm really hit the roof hardWhat's that shaking? An earthquake!• My basement flooded• A pipe burst• I smell natural gas• My power went out• A power line fell in my yard!• A tree fell• My roof is leaking• My window's broken• I backed my car into the garage door• Stinging insects have invaded my home• There's a bat in the house!

life graphic
Photo by Eldon Lindsay; illustration by Matt Mukerjee and Leslie McFarland

You work hard to earn the things you buy. More than mere assets on a bank ledger, your possessions and your income add to your quality of life. So what happens when they’re suddenly gone or destroyed? Don’t feel helpless or violated, take action to recover and rebound.

Someone stole my identityBurglars broke into my houseSomeone's robbing me!I've been scammed• I'm locked out of my houseI spilled red wine on my clothes• I dropped my phone in the water

auto graphic
Photo by Eldon Lindsay; illustration by Matt Mukerjee and Leslie McFarland

It’s your baby: that sleek chariot sitting in your garage. You can pamper it with a nice wash, wax and detail. You can drive defensively, check your mirrors and fight temptation to check that text. Still, when you drive to work, school, errands or a night out, accidents will happen. Here’s how to handle that auto mishap, whenever or however it strikes:

• I've been in a car accidentMy car has a flat tire• Someone stole my car!My battery is dead

health graphic
Photo by Eldon Lindsay; illustration by Matt Mukerjee and Leslie McFarland

You know to dial 911 for a heart attack or a stroke. Yet there’s a host of non-life-threatening situations that may not send you to an emergency room, but do require immediate attention. Take care of your body and your wallet with this advice.

• The insurance company denied my medical claimMy tooth's been knocked out• I chipped a tooth• I need urgent medical care. Where should I go?• I have a sunburn

pets graphic
Photo by Brandon Smith; illustration by Matt Mukerjee and Leslie McFarland

We love our pets, but they’re just as susceptible to accidents and health scares as we are. It gets complicated when Fido and Fluffy can’t communicate their misery as well as we can. Here’s a look at a few common pet emergencies, and what to do when you encounter them.

• My cat is stuck in a treeI have a pet emergencyMy pet's been poisoned• What do I do with my pet during a natural disaster?


• Angie Hicks on practicing 'reasonable readiness'Why you should take a CPR classWhat you should include in a car emergency kit

Help in a Hurry

Download and print out our handy sheet, look up and fill in those emergency and essential phone numbers and post it in a prominent place.

Help in a Hurry PDF