Functional Friday: Family Emergency Plan

We're going to write your first Family Emergency Preparedness Plan.  Get a pad of paper and a pen (or pencil or computer, whatever...).  Let's go!  (You can construct a basic plan online here.)

Household Information
  • Write down the address, phone, photo of residence, landlord's name and number
  • Write down the names of household members at your residence, list each birthdate, identifying characteristics, medical needs, social security number, and contact information (cell number, email, work location and info, etc.)
  • Now write the names, location/addresses, and above information of other family members or important people included in your plan.
Meeting Places
  • Initially you should plan to meet up at home, if possible.  That is where your resources and safety will lie.  From there you can make decisions and plans.
  • Establish three meeting places at your home.  1) The first is where to meet inside the house during a storm, a tornado, or other unsafe situation outside our home (Riots?).  Our "hide-out" is the red sofa in our basement rec room. 2) Next is a shelter-in-place room.  We'll talk about this room later, in detail.  But for now pick a room on the highest level of your house, few windows, and space for everyone to hang out for a few hours.   3) The last is one next to your home to meet if your own residence is not accessible, such as in a fire.  Ours is my neighbor's front porch. Make sure everyone understands to stay there until everyone is safely accounted for.
  • Finally, decide another location near your home where your family could meet if your home were not accessible.  Maybe a friend's house a few blocks away, a business, a park, a landmark.
Emergency Contact
  • Determine an out-of-region/out-of-state telephone contact for the whole family.  In an emergency, phone systems may allow calls out of the region when lines within the region are jammed.
  • Make certain that everyone in the family knows the name, address, phone number, and possibly email for that out of town contact.  Determine if that contact's residence will also be a meeting place, as well.  (Out-of-town meeting place should be, perhaps, 50-120 miles away.  Close enough to drive easily and quickly, far enough to escape regional disaster.)  Everyone should practice calling the contact person, especially if your household contains younger children.  
  • If the out-of-town contact cannot be your long distance meeting place, designate another and include it in your emergency and communication plans as well.
Other Contacts
  • Make a list (name, address, phone and email) of friends, family, agencies and professionals you might need to contact in an emergency situation.
  • Family, friends and neighbors
  • Doctors and pediatrician, hospital and ambulance, police and fire, 
  • Car dealership and/or garage, veterinarian, attorney, accountant, bank, day care and/or babysitter
  • Clergy, therapist, 
  • Local assistance organizations website, phone number, and address (Red Cross, Salvation Army, churches)
Records and Data (Originals or Copies)
  • Driver's License, Identification cards, Social Security cards, 
  • Car and house keys
  • Marriage License, Divorce Decree, Adoption Certificate, other relevant court documents
  • Car titles, land deeds, tax records, financial records, wills and trusts
  • Prescriptions, medical information and requirements,
  • Photos of family members, homes, other property, jewelry and valuables
  • Copies of insurance cards, policies, and credit cards
  • Pets medical and vaccination records
  • Flash drive or other digital storage of photos, documents, and other data
  • City and regional maps
 Emergency Resources
  • Cash (Cash is critical in a disaster where power is out.  Banks, stores, and ATM will be closed.)  An actual credit card may be of use as well.
  • Home disaster kit, Shelter-in-place kit, Go-bag or evacuation kit, Car kits, Work/School kit, Purse or personal kit
  • Long term stock of food storage, medications, supplies
  • Commodities - What will a neighborhood or community run out of and be unable to restock in an emergency?  What will people want or need but not have?  These useful (or luxury) items can be given to others in Good Samaritan fashion, as a thank you for assistance, as a bargaining tool for items you might need, or simply as additional stores for later use.
  • Emergency utilities (generator, fuel powered heating and cooking, water purification, battery powered radio or tv)
 Written Plan
  • Write a few paragraphs describing what your family will do in each of several disasters.  Where will you go.  Will you stay together?  Who will pick up the kids? Where will you meet?
  • Power outage, family separated, kids at home but unreachable, kids at school but unreachable, kids or parent "gone out", parent/spouse out of town, phone communication down, evacuation requested/ordered, house/neighborhood inaccessible, house is damaged while occupied, house fire, flash flooding, local eminent disasters, earthquake, etc.
  • Don't get too bogged down in the details, at first.  Concentrate on the basics: will we stay or go?, where?, what resources and training do we have?

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