Your Family Disaster Plan
Creating a Disaster Plan is an essential part of preparing your family for a disaster or emergency situation. Discussing what you will do before, during, and after an emergency will empower your family to take control of their own safety and survival during a disaster.
Items you should discuss, write down and practice:
If you have children, it is espeically important to identify and practice your escape routes. Draw a floorplan of your home and mark the escape routes. Have the children practice escaping from their bedrooms. It is a good idea to practice this while crawling in the dark, so you know how to escape during a fire.
Identify an area outside of your home where you will all meet up following an emergency. Also identify an area away from the home in case you become separated or are not at your home during the emergency. Ex: Maybe a nearby school parking lot.
It is quite possible that your entire family will not be at home when a disaster strikes. Make a plan for how you will get a hold of each other. Remember - After a disaster, phone lines will be busy. Make sure to identify an out-of-state contact person. This person may be more easily reached.
Following a disaster you may be instructed to turn off one or all of your utilities. Make sure household members know how to turn off utilities and have the tools necessary to complete the task. Label your utilities with tags and make sure the shutoff valves are in working order.
Remember: If you turn off your gas for any reason, a gas professional must turn it back on for you. Do not turn it on by yourself.
Caring For Animals
Making plans in advance for your pet(s) is an essential part of disaster planning. Make sure your disaster supply kit includes ample food for your pet. Following a large disaster, charitable organizations will normally set up feeding operations for you and your family. These feeding operations will not normally include food for your pet, so plan ahead. Include a leash in your disaster kit and possibly a pet carrier or crate. Find out which local hotels will allow pets in case you need to evacuate from your home. Many shelters will not allow pets other than service animals, so please plan ahead.
Safety Skills/First Aid
Learn First Aid and CPR. Contact your local American Red Cross to schedule a class. This is important for children and adults.
Make sure family members know how to use fire extinguishers and where it is located. (May not be appropriate for children)
Disaster Supply Kit
Ensure everyone in your home knows where the disaster supply kit is, and knows to take it with them if they evacuate.
Click here for a list of what to include in your disaster supply kit.