Having an emergency plan for your family keeps you prepared for any crisis. It is important to that all members of the family are informed of what to do and that everyone knows how to communicate in a everyone. A strong emergency plan will incorporate the following features in it as well as any special considerations that must be made based on unique situations.
1. Emergency Contact Plan
Designate an emergency contact person. Ideally, this person should be located out-of-state so that they are out of the disaster area. Every member of the family should have the phone number and address of the emergency contact. Be sure to communicate with others that you are safe so that every member can be accounted for.
2. Evacuation Plan
- Where is everyone going to meet?
- Have an alternate location in case the first place is not viable.
- How are people getting there?
- Parents may be at work and kids may be at school.
- Schools may have their own emergency plans; be familiar with those.
- What needs to be brought?
- Remember your emergency supply kit!
- Know how to shut off your homes utilities such as water, gas, and electricity. This may only be necessary for an extended evacuation.
- Plan for any special needs such as pets, the elderly, or the disabled.
Sometimes evacuation is not necessary and it is better to shelter in your home. Public officials will alert residents if an evacuation is to take place or a shelter in place is recommended. If it is necessary to prevent outside air from coming into the house (such as cold temperatures, smoke, or a toxic gas release) take the following measures to seal your house.
- Close and lock all doors and windows
- Turn off air handling devices such as A/CS, vent fans, and dryers.
- Close the fireplace flue if not in use
- Seal of any large cracks (such as under a door) with a damp towel