Do you have an emergency disaster plan in place for your family? Learn how to make a family emergency plan and get a free family emergency plan checklist printable.
Emergency Plan for a Family
Fires. Tornadoes. Hurricanes. Floods. Blizzards. Every day we hear about a new disaster that threatens our way of life. Is your family prepared in the event of a natural disaster or any kind of emergency event?
Someday, your family may encounter a natural disaster or similar emergency event that will require you to be prepared and jump into action to keep your family safe. If you have a family emergency plan in place, keeping your family safe and alive will be much, much easier.
What is a Family Emergency Plan?
A family emergency plan is a document that details steps to take in the event of an emergency. It includes important telephone numbers, family meeting places, emergency supplies checklist, and more.
Here are three essential questions that you should ask yourself to create an emergency preparedness plan for you and your family.
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1. Where Will You Go in a Disaster?
The first question you need to consider is where you will go when there is an emergency.
- Will you shelter in place at home?
- Will you leave town and evacuate?
- If you are leaving the area, where will you go and where will you stay?
You don’t want to make these decisions when you are in the middle of a disaster, so it is vital to think of your answers now. Disasters cause great distress, and it can be difficult to make smart decisions quickly in those situations.
Now is the time to think through any possible scenarios that could occur in your area and get the necessary information about safe locations that you need ahead of time.
For example, if you are leaving the area, you could determine where you want to go, figure out what routes would be the safest and easiest to get you there, and then find out what hotels are in the area or if there are any friends or family that live in the area.
You may also want to consider where your family members are throughout the day and how they could meet you at the safe place you choose.
Tip: You may not be able to rely on your smartphone or other GPS systems to work during a disaster. Have an updated printed road atlas (or a few) with possible routes and safe places highlighted, and keep it with your disaster kit along with a compass.
2. How Will You Stay In Touch with Your Family?
Can you imagine what it would feel like to not be able to contact your family or friends during an emergency? Or, have you considered how you’ll get the latest news or emergency alerts?
It’s super important to think about how you’ll be able to communicate during a disaster.
You should consider how you’ll get information while on the move AND while at an emergency shelter.
For starters, make sure everyone has a mobile device that can receive calls and text or send messages via social media. The mobile device can be a smartphone, a basic flip phone, a smart watch, a tablet, or even a laptop.
Too young for such a device? Figure out a way for your young children to get in contact with you. For example, if they are at preschool, day care, or school, your contact would be with the adults who are with your children.
Young children should also either know phone numbers by memory or have a physical list of numbers to call in case they only have access to a landline.
TIP! Make sure that your child’s emergency contact information is always up to date at daycare, preschool, or school. Any time there is a number change, contact those in charge to let them know.
Don’t Forget Chargers!
Don’t forget that you’ll need these devices to be charged. Make sure to have charging cables and plugs with you, along with car chargers. A portable charger, one that is charged via USB or via solar power, will come in very handy as well.
You’ll want the batteries to last as long as possible, so be conservative with your device usage. There won’t be much need for most of the apps on your phone, nor will it be necessary to constantly be on social media or taking photos/videos. Remind your kids about this ahead of a disaster and remind them regularly.
TIP: Everyone should become familiar with how to change their battery settings on their mobile devices to conserve power. Look in the settings of your device for instructions of how to conserve your battery best.
What happens if your mobile device runs out of power or the towers are down? It’s vital to have a backup plan for when you can’t get a good connection or your mobile device runs out of battery power. You can choose a meeting point or a person that everyone contacts when you can’t get a hold of each other. Make sure that everyone knows about this plan and how to get to the meeting point or get in touch with the contact person.
Still want to know what’s going on? You can get a weather radio that has a hand crank and is solar powered, with which you can get emergency alerts and the latest news.
Bonus: Many hand-crank weather radios also serve as flash lights and chargers for mobile devices!
3. What Emergency Supplies Do You Need?
Don’t wait to collect and store emergency supplies. The more prepared your family is, the safer and more comfortable your family will be when a disaster occurs.
Depending on what the disaster is, where you live, who is in your family, and the seasonal weather will determine what supplies will be best for your family.
The basics you’ll need for survival include food, water, shelter, and medication. If you have pets, you’ll want those basic supplies for them too.
These supplies can be stored in your home and updated as needed. It’s a good idea to keep several backpacks or duffel bags with the survival kit in case you need to take your supplies on the go.
Printable Emergency Survival Kit Checklist
Get this full list of emergency supplies for your family as a printable and stock up on the supplies you don’t already have.
Once you have the basics, you can start thinking about things that will make you comfortable like light, entertainment, extra bedding, small fans, and similar things. With a headlamp or lantern and a good book, you can pass the time during the emergency. Travel board games or puzzles are perfect for distracting young kids from being too nervous. Extra bedding might help young children sleep better, and small battery-operated fans can help to circulate air.
If you have a small camping stove, a small campfire kettle, and some mugs, you can make some hot chocolate or tea for the family to enjoy as a treat (and to keep them warm!).
- Some emergency agencies recommend having a list of everyone’s Social Security numbers on hand.
- It might be a good idea to have copies of birth certificates, insurance information, and any other important documents you think are necessary.
Free Emergency Plan Printable
Use this guide to create an emergency preparedness plan with your family. Use Part 1 as a rough draft and Part 2 as your actual plan.
Are You Prepared for an Emergency?
If you and your family are prepared, you’ll greatly increase your chances of making it through a disaster.
Are you prepared? What precautions have you taken to make a family emergency preparedness plan? Share your thoughts in the comments below!