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.
If you have children, it is especially important to identify and practice your escape routes. Draw a floor plan 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. Example: 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 as the phone system in that area would be less likely to be affected. Text messaging or social media platforms may also be possible to help with family reunification when phone lines are busy.
Disaster Supply Kit
Preparing emergency kits is an important step to staying safe and healthy during a disaster. Ensure everyone in your home knows where the disaster supply kit is, and knows to take it with them if they evacuate. Don't forget about your household's important documents. Create an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit to keep essential paperwork all in one place.
Caring For Animals
Pet preparedness is an essential part of disaster planning. Make sure your disaster supply kit includes ample food for your pet as well as a copy of current vaccines. Include a leash in your disaster kit and a pet carrier crate if possible. Following a large disaster, emergency shelters will be set up for those who have evacuated or lost their homes. Some shelters will not allow pets, so please plan ahead by identifying pet friendly hotels or friends you can stay with. Pet food will be essential if you stay at a pet friendly shelter as they may not have food readily available.
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)
Following a disaster you may be instructed to turn off one or all of your utilities or they may have been damaged in the disaster. Ensure your utility shutoffs are in working order. Make sure household members know how to turn off utilities and have the tools necessary to complete the task.
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.