Emergency Preparedness

  1. Make a Plan
  2. Build a Kit
  3. Stay Informed
  4. Training

"Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential." - Winston Churchill

Planning for Emergencies

Think about how much planning goes into a family vacation. You need to pick a destination, vet the hotels, figure out where local grocery stores and gas stations are, and then there is the actual packing. If you have kids, the amount of stuff that they absolutely must have is enough to fill a jumbo jet on its own.

Now, think about what you would need to do in the event that you had to evacuate on short notice. What if your family was separated when you had to evacuate? This is a possibility that could occur in the event of a hazardous material spill or if your home caught fire. Prepare for these events by putting together a family emergency plan.

First, begin by answering these four questions:

  1. How will I know an emergency is happening or has happened? How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
  2. What is my shelter plan? Where will we go in the event we have to evacuate? What if we have to stay home?
  3. What is my evacuation end point and route? How do I get there if the main roads are closed?
  4. How will I contact my family if cell towers are overwhelmed? What is my family communication plan?

In addition to these questions, think about needs specific to your household, such as:

  • Different ages of the members within your household
  • Dietary needs
  • Medical needs (including prescriptions and equipment)
  • Disabilities or access and functional needs (including devices and equipment)
  • Languages spoken
  • Cultural and religious considerations
  • Pets or service animals

Build your Family Emergency Plan

Your family emergency plan should include:

  • Communication Information - write down important phone numbers in case you lose your phone or the battery dies. Include back-up methods such as messaging apps in the event you cannot get a phone call out but internet is working.
  • Emergency Meeting Places - Designate where your family will meet in the event of an emergency. Discuss who will pick up the kids and/or pets.
  • School, Childcare, Caregiver and Workplace Emergency Plans - Write down how you will contact your work or school and what the emergency pick up plans are for children. In the event you are unable to pick them up, do you have a back-up? What sort of credentials does your back-up need to pick up your kids?
  • Utility Information - Download and register for utility applications that allow you to report outages without making a phone call. Write down account numbers for your utility accounts.
  • Insurance Information - Keep paper or electronic records of your insurance policies and numbers to expedite the process following a disaster.

Use this template to begin developing your own family emergency plan - Family Emergency Plan Template