Emergency Preparedness

Family Emergency Preparedness Plan
Your best defense is preparedness - before, during and after an emergency. Local, state and federal agencies are ready to assist, but families should be prepared to take care of themselves for at least 3 days - 72 hours - following an emergency. A Family Emergency Preparedness Plan should help you determine what is needed to survive many different types of emergencies. The following guidelines will help you and your family form your plan. Emergency preparedness is your responsibility, so be ready!

Do Your Homework
To be able to make a family emergency preparedness plan, first you must do your homework:
  • Determine the hazards, both natural and man-made, that could affect you, your family and your community. Many of these hazards are listed in greater detail elsewhere on this site.
  • Learn about the Emergency Alert System and determine which of the TV and radio stations you can receive in various locations in your home.
  • Know what plans are in place at your child's school to deal with different types of emergencies during school hours. Know what actions, if any, school officials ask parents to take during these emergencies.
  • Have a secondary place to stay until the emergency is over, in case your home or community is affected.
  • Determine mass care/storm shelter locations near home, work, etc.
  • Become familiar with emergency plans at work, church and other places where your family spends time.
  • Know what to do if you are told to Shelter in Place, Evacuate, or just stay alert for further instructions.
Create a Plan
When you have gathered the necessary information, you are ready to create an emergency preparedness plan:
  • Have a family meeting and discuss emergency preparedness. Be sure all family members know what to do during different types of emergency situations, whether at home, work, school, or elsewhere in the community. Be sure to plan how children will be cared for if parents are not able to get home, or how disabled persons will be cared for if health personnel cannot reach them.
  • Determine the shelter rooms in your home to use for severe weather and Shelter in Place.
  • Create a Disaster Supply Kit, using the information given elsewhere.
  • Be sure all family members know the location of your shelter rooms and the Disaster Supply Kit.
  • Establish a "family contact" in another town. Be sure every family member knows the contact's telephone number. If family members are separated during an emergency, they can call the out-of-town contact and tell them where they are.
  • Teach responsible family members when and how to turn off the water, gas and electricity at the main switches.
  • Teach children when and how to call 911.
Have Easy Access to Emergency Information
To further aid family members in getting help quickly when needed, have easy access to emergency information:
  • Post emergency telephone numbers by the phone, including doctors, schools, parents' work numbers, nearby relatives who might assist young children, etc.
  • Keep a list of these emergency telephone numbers in your wallet.
  • Post the zones for home, work, school, church and other places you visit frequently.
Practice & Maintain Plan
When you have completed these steps and your family knows what to do, practice and maintain your plan:
  • Every 6 months, hold another family meeting and review your plan. Make changes as your family's needs and circumstances change.
  • Conduct emergency evacuation drills of your home, so everyone knows what to do and where to meet outside in case of a fire or other home emergency.
  • In your Disaster Supply Kit, replace emergency water and food supplies as needed, test and replace batteries in radios and flashlights, and replace outgrown clothing or outdated supplies.