Family Disaster Plan
After a major disaster, it is unlikely that emergency response services will be able to immediately respond to everyone’s needs, so it’s important to be prepared to take care of yourself and your family. Plan to be on your own for at least the first 72 hours.
The following steps will help you prepare for any emergency:
- Designate an out-of-area contact person. Try to select someone that is far enough away to not be affected by the same emergency. Provide this person with the names and contact information of the people you want to keep informed of your situation. Instruct family members to call this person and tell them where they are. Long distance phone service is often restored sooner than local service.
- Duplicate important documents and keep copies off-site, either in a safety deposit box or with someone you trust. Documents may include: passport, drivers license, social security card, wills, deeds, financial statements, insurance information, marriage license and prescriptions.
- Inventory valuables, in writing and with photographs or video. Keep copies of this information off-site with your other important documents.
- Make a household/family plan. Involve all key people in planning.
- Make your home safe.
- Put together a disaster supply kit. Plan to have supplies for yourself and your family for at least 3 days following a disaster.
- When planning, consider the special needs of children, seniors or people with disabilities, family members that don’t speak English and pets.
Talk with your family about potential disasters and why it’s necessary to prepare for them. Involve each member of your family in the planning process. By showing them simple steps that can increase their safety, you can help reduce their anxiety about emergencies.
Make sure everyone knows where to find your disaster supply kit and Go-bags.
Have a flashlight and a pair of shoes under everyone’s bed in case there is an earthquake during the night. Use a plastic bag tied to the leg of the bed to keep these items from moving during an earthquake.
Plan where to meet after a disaster if your home becomes unsafe. Choose two places, one just outside your home and one outside your neighborhood in case you are told to evacuate. Be sure your gas tank is always at least half full.
Determine the best escape routes from your home. Try to identify two escape routes.
Make sure each member knows who your family’s out-of-state contact is and instruct them to call this person and tell him/her where they are.
Locate the gas main and other utilitiesand make sure family members know when and how to turn them off.
Practice your evacuation routes, Drop, Cover & Hold and Stop, Drop & Roll drills.
Teach each member of your family how to use a fire extinguisher.
Create emergency response cards for each of your family members.
Take into account the special needs of children, seniors or people with disabilities, family members that don’t speak English and pets.