Information adapted from Ready.gov
Every good Emergency Plan starts with one question…
No, not what if T’Challa was a Starlord or if Peggy became Captain Carter. We’re talking about the “What if’s” that you and your family can plan for. “What if something happens when I’m not with my family?”, “How will I know they are safe?”, “How will I reach them?”. Planning in advance can help keep your family calm, safe, and together in the event of a disaster. Here are three easy steps to start the process of answering your “what if’s”.
Collect any relevant information you would need in a disaster. Start with important contact information, not only for relatives and other loved ones, but also for important service providers, such as doctors, caregivers, and your workplace. Collect information on designated gathering places if you had to leave your area in an evacuation.
Now that you have your information, share it with those who need it. It’s best to have both digital and paper copies of this information, because a disaster can make accessing computers or reliable phone signals difficult. Give paper copies to family, friends and caregivers who may need to assist in a disaster. Perhaps leave copies at your workplace or other important locations. On our website we have handy printable versions that can be filled out and kept in a wallet, purse or backpack (check it out here!). You may also want to have a contact saved as “In case of emergency” saved in your phone to make accessing your emergency contacts easy for those who may be responding.
Communications is a great start for your plan, but now it’s time to commit to it with practice. Create small drills where your household family members practice what you would do during an emergency. This can be done as creatively as you want! You can create a monthly routine of sending out a test message and seeing how long it takes to respond, or have a yearly drill of practicing getting to your emergency location destinations. You might want to memorize some of the most important numbers on your contact lists, and quiz each other over dinner. The point is that your plan is not just sitting in your wallet or purse, but being practiced and adapted until you know it well.
This is just a shortened explanation of how you can get started in creating family emergency plans. For more extensive reading, I highly recommend this nifty Family Communication Plan (link). It also comes with a checklist and a printable contact list.
Stay safe and happy National Preparedness Month!