The Family Emergency Plan
As we kick off National Preparedness Month let us start at the very beginning – your Family Emergency Plan! This is the trunk of the preparedness tree, and everything else branches out from your plan. A good plan covers 5 things:
- // Identify Hazards
- // Evacuation Routes
- // Assignments
- // Contacts
- // Shelter
What are you planning for? Obviously you’ll plan for a house fire, but is that really the only hazard in your area? What about tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, or wildfires? Each disaster requires a different plan. Download these disaster fact sheets to know how you can prepare for each one. Or download the Red Cross app that goes with your most likely hazard.
Typically families only plan how to evacuate their home in case of a fire. That’s great, but not helpful for the majority of your day. Do you know where everyone is on a typical day? Know the travel routes for family members for work and school and where they are throughout the day. That means you know the most likely location of all loved ones in the event of a disaster, no matter what time of day. It also means you can better plan a quick and safe reunion.
Plan for where you will meet if you’re at work and your kids are at school. What about alternate routes home from work? Use MapQuest to add this information to your plan.
In the event of a disaster there is more to consider than simply evacuating the premises. Who’s in charge of shutting off the utilities? Who’s going to grab the kids or the baby? Who will help those with special needs? Who will grab the survival bags? Making assignments ahead of time will ensure that all supplies are grabbed and you have what you need.
Each plan needs 2 local contacts and at least 1 out of state contact. In the event of a disaster it may be easier to reach your mom in Idaho, but not the neighbor down the street. This is the foundation of your communications plan. You should have these 15 emergency numbers in your phone and in your emergency packs.
Most disasters will impact your basic necessities, mainly your shelter. What are your options? Do you plan on setting up your tent and camping in the yard until your home is cleared for habitation? Is there a school or church that will most likely become a designated shelter? These will become meeting places for your family. Be sure to include these in your routes as well.
As these five things come together your plan will become a solid trunk for the rest of your emergency preparations. This is also the foundation of your families psychological and emotional preparations as well.
Download the Oregon Go Kit Passport to help create your plan and keep it written down and up to date.
I think a lot of us want to be ready but maybe aren’t sure where to start – your article lays a good foundation to help us get organized. I hope a lot of people read this and get started!