Creating a Plan

Create a Home Emergency Plan
Being prepared starts with a plan. Involve your family members in developing a plan, then remember to post the plan somewhere everyone can see the details. Here are some things to consider when creating your plan:
  • Discuss the dangers of fire, severe weather, hazardous materials spills, floods and other emergencies. Talk about the ways in which you will respond to each situation.
  • Discuss power outages and medical emergencies. Teach children how and when to call 911.
  • Draw a floor plan of your home. Mark 2 escape routes from each room.
  • Select 2 meeting places - one near your home in case of fire, and another that is outside your neighborhood, in case you cannot return home after a disaster.
  • Learn how to turn off the water, gas and electricity at main switches.
  • Post emergency numbers near each telephone in your home.
  • Instruct family members to turn on the radio for emergency information.
  • Take basic CPR and first aid classes.
  • Keep important records in a waterproof and fireproof container.

Other Things to Consider
Create an emergency communications plan. Choose an out-of-town contact your family or household will call or email to check on each other should a disaster occur. Your selected contact should live far enough away that they would be unlikely to be directly affected by the same event, and they should know they are the chosen contact. Make sure every household member has that contact's, and each other's, email addresses and telephone numbers (home, work, pager and cell). Leave these contact numbers at your children's schools, if you have children, and at your workplace. Your family should know that if telephones are not working, they need to be patient and try again later or try email. Many people flood the telephone lines when emergencies happen but email can sometimes get through when calls don't.

Check on school emergency plans at your child's school. You need to know if they will they keep children at school until a parent or designated adult can pick them up or send them home on their own. Be sure that the school has updated information about how to reach parents and responsible caregivers to arrange for pick up. And, ask what type of authorization the school may require to release a child to someone you designate, if you are not able to pick up your child. During times of emergency the school telephones may be overwhelmed with calls.