Day 4 – Create a Family Emergency and Communications Plan
Think of the last birthday party that you hosted – did you simply say “this is David’s birthday, just show up anytime” Did you make an invite and let 10 kids run wild around your house with nothing to do? NO! That’s insane, you’d never have a party without making a plan about when, where and what you would be doing and who would be involved.
Now a disaster is anything but a party, so why treat it any differently.
Before you can really prepare for anything, you have to make a Family Emergency Plan. That is STEP 1 of emergency preparedness and exactly where everyone must start. All of your preparation will mean little if you don’t have a written plan and review it often.
There are so many things to consider when creating a family emergency plan.
Your plan should go beyond contacts, and a meeting place. In regards to creating an effective family emergency and communications plan, we are going to make it as easy as 1,2,3!
10 things to keep in mind when doing your Family Emergency and Communication Plan:
- Write it down – can’t say it enough!
- Map out meeting locations and regular family routes so you can easily find each other based on usual locations throughout the day. This is especially useful in helping your children understand the importance of why they need to let you know where they are at all times. Use map quest to print maps of your town, neighborhood, and traveling routes. Mark meeting places, walking routes, and contacts on the maps, along with possible shelter locations.
- Make a list of contacts – out of state and local emergency contacts – your out of state contact should know they are in charge of alerting other family members and friends that you are ok. This frees phone lines and quickly gets information out, with the less stress and time for you. You will have enough to deal with, so let someone else deal with frantic loved ones. Have 2 local contacts – one in the neighborhood and one outside your neighborhood in case you aren’t home or can’t return home.
- Have a communication plan – how will you get a hold of each other if separated.? Should your kids try and call you? Where do they reach you? Do you have a central contact person?
- Use information cards – especially if kids are unable to memorize phone numbers and addresses. These cards that can be placed in wallets and backpacks with contact information, and meeting locations. use this link to print information cards
- Try to have at least one family member who is CPR certified
- If you are a single parent, expecting, or have a child with special needs at home, have an emergency helper who knows to come assist you in getting everyone out. They should know that they come ASAP – without needing a phone call – and they should have a copy of your plan.
- Give a copy of your complete family emergency plan to your out of town contact so they will know where everyone is and what to expect. Then you will have a backup in case anything happens to yours. Knowing you’re prepared also keeps them calm.
- Plan how will you get the emergency warning–apps? Radio? TV? Family?
- Be disaster specific – tornadoes will have a different meeting place than earthquakes or winter storms.
Today’s Challenge: Print the oregon.gov booklet for your Family Emergency Plan binder
First step print out the 7 Step booklet and fill it out. By the time you’re done you will have an almost completed emergency plan, with little to panic about. The National Fire Protection Association has Get Ready Family Emergency Plan fact sheets, NFPA home fire escape plan. Available in Spanish and English. Include any other information you feel you may need.
Visit What Happens Now and get forms for everything. Links include forms for inventory, contacts, damage, and clean up. Look under the disasters categories. (Really this site is a great resource for quite a few of life’s disasters) I would recommend use these for your family emergency plan information binder, it will cover everything.
Make a couple copies of your emergency plan. 1) for your home, 2) for your 72 hour kit, 3) your out of town contact- put this one in the mail ASAP, but be sure you call and ask for their permission first and that they agree to this task.