Your family may not be together when a disaster happens. It is recommended to plan NOW – rather than wonder who will do what, where, and when later. Perform some research on preparedness information now – while you have time.
Some questions to ask and to make sure that you plan provides the answers:
- How will family members get to a safe place?
- How will you contact one another?
- How will you meet back up?
- When will you meet back up?
- What if the designated meeting area is not safe?
Here is some information to consider from Ready.gov:
- Think about how you will communicate in different situations.
- Complete a contact card for each adult family member. Have them keep these cards handy in a wallet, purse or briefcase, etc. Additionally, complete contact cards for each child in your family. Put the cards in their backpacks or book bags.
- Check with your children’s day care or school. Facilities designed for children should include identification planning as part of their emergency plans.
Family Communication Tips
Identify a contact such as a friend or relative who lives out-of-state for household members to notify they are safe. It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members.
Be sure every member of your family knows the phone number and has a cell phone, coins or a prepaid phone card to call the emergency contact. If you have a cell phone, program that person(s) as “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) in your phone. If you are in an accident, emergency personnel will often check your ICE listings in order to get a hold of someone you know. Make sure to tell your family and friends that you’ve listed them as emergency contacts.
Teach family members how to use text messaging (also known as SMS or Short Message Service). Text messages can often get around network disruptions when a phone call might not be able to get through.
A few other thoughts on crisis planning for families:
- Have at least 2 meet up locations in a generally similar area which to meet after the “event”.
- Have at least one distant relative which to contact and pass on information – and of course have that persons contact information available.
- A single “Information Card” – preferably laminated – with names, addresses, phone numbers and steps to take after a disaster will help everyone remember what to do. Remember – this card is for REMEMBERING while your brain is for thinking.
Consider the most likely scenarios that may be occurring and plan accordingly. If you live near a nuclear reactor the meeting point should likely not be upwind from it.
- KIDS: If you have school aged children decide up front who is going to get who.
- Lastly – come up with an immediate list of tasks to be done at home should the disaster take place and someone is at home. This may include filling tubs with water, charge up batteries (if power is still on), gathering flashlights, and setting the shotgun by the door (zombie apocalypse).