HOW TO MAKE A FAMILY EMERGENCY PLAN
Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency. Below are guidelines to help you make an emergency plan for your family. Remember, your emergency plan is a continuing process that should be revisited and updated regularly.
- Meet with your family and discuss why you need to prepare for an emergency. Discuss the types of disasters that are most likely to happen and what to do in each situation. Plan to share responsibilities and work together as a team.
- Keep it simple. A disaster is an extremely stressful situation that can create confusion. The best emergency plans are simple enough so that everyone can remember the important details.
- Plan where your family will meet. Meeting places should include locations both near your home (in case of a sudden emergency such as a fire) and outside of your immediate neighborhood (in case you can’t return home or need to evacuate). Notify caregivers and babysitters about your plan.
- Plan how your family will communicate. Consider asking a relative or friend who lives outside of your area to be your family contact. In a disaster, local telephone service may be disrupted, but long-distance lines are more likely to be open. For this reason, an out-of-town contact may be better able to communicate among separated family members. Everyone should know the contact’s name, address and telephone number. (If long-distance lines are not open, try a pay telephone. This is the telephone company’s emergency telephone network and will be the first system to be restored if there is an emergency.)
- Take a Basic First Aid and CPR class. Contact the American Red Cross for more information.
- Post emergency contact numbers near all telephones. Pre-program emergency numbers into phones that have auto-dial. Teach children how and when to dial 9-1-1 to get emergency assistance.
- Prepare to evacuate your home. If you need to vacate your home because of a fire or other emergency, have a plan to get out quickly and safely:
- Prepare to evacuate the area. If authorities ask you to evacuate, have a plan for you and your family to leave the area:
- Keep family records in a waterproof and fireproof safe. Inexpensive models can be purchased at most hardware stores.
- Ask about emergency plans at places where your family spends time. This could include work, daycare and school. If no plans exist, consider volunteering to help create one.
- Practice and maintain your plan. Practicing your plan will help you instinctively make the appropriate response during an actual emergency. Review your plan periodically and make changes as needed.
- Take a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) class from your local Citizen Corps Council. Remember to keep your training current.