Make a plan today. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area. Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.
Step 1: Put together a plan by discussing these 5 questions with your family, friends, or household to start your emergency plan.
- How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
- What is my shelter plan?
- What is my evacuation route?
- What is my family/household communication plan?
- What is the plan for my pets/animals?
Step 2: Consider specific needs in your household.
As you prepare your plan tailor your plans and supplies to your specific daily living needs and responsibilities. Discuss your needs and responsibilities and how people in the network can assist each other with communication, care of children, business, pets, or specific needs like the operation of durable medical equipment. Create your own personal network for specific areas where you need assistance. Keep in mind some these factors when developing your plan:
- Different ages of members within your household
- Responsibilities for assisting others
- Locations frequented
- Dietary needs
- Medical needs including prescriptions and equipment
- Disabilities or access and functional needs including devices and equipment
- Languages spoken
- Cultural and religious considerations
- Pets or service animals
- Households with school-aged children
Step 3: Fill out a Family Emergency Plan
Download and fill out a family emergency plan or use it as a guide to create your own.
Step 4: Practice your plan with your family/household
Important things to consider in an emergency family plan:
Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to plan in advance: how you will contact one another; how you will get back together; and what you will do in different situations.
It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members. Ask an out-of-state friend to be your family out of town contact. After a disaster, it is often easier to call long distance. Be sure every member of your family knows the phone number and has coins or a prepaid phone card to call the emergency contact. You may have trouble getting through, or the telephone system may be down altogether, but be patient.
Find out what disaster plans are in place at your work, your children's school and other places your family spends time. Discuss preparedness with your family. Make sure you all understand what types of disasters can occur and what you will do in each case.
Determine two escape routes from each room in your home
Pick three places to meet: in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire. Decide a location in your neighborhood and lastly, a regional meeting place in case you can't return home.
Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1 and other emergency numbers including fire, police, ambulance, etc. Post these numbers near phones in your home.
Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms and make sure everyone knows where the fire extinguisher is and how to use it.
Learn basic first aid skills, including CPR.
Make sure your family has adequate insurance.
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