When a disaster strikes, your first thoughts may be: Where is my family? Is everybody OK? How do we get to safety? Disasters can happen suddenly, and knowing where your family is and how to communicate with them is important. That's why you need to make a plan and be prepared ahead of time.
Sit down with your whole family and think through different emergency or disaster situations:
Use the Emergency Plan Form to create your plan. Record information such as:
Making your plan includes preparing what you need to do before, during, and after a disaster. That also means preparing for stress, emotions, and mental health. Also have a plan for your home and other properties if you need to make repairs to them.
Your local authorities will tell you if you need to shelter in place or evacuate. But it is up to you to have a plan and be prepared for either situation. If you have to evacuate, where do you go and how do you get there? If you need to shelter in place, do you have what you need to survive until the emergency or disaster is over?
Think about methods of communication. During many emergencies and disasters, cell phones networks may not work. Do you have another form of communication? How will you receive updates from local authorities to know when the emergency or disaster is over?
Keep in mind that planning for some family members may require additional considerations. See more about that in the blue box to the right.
Once your plan is complete, print it and keep it in a safe place. And don't forget to practice your plan. The more you practice your plan, the easier it will be for you and your family to prepared before, during, and after a disaster.