Set a plan, just in case
It’s easy to think “disaster won’t strike here,” but if it did, do you have a plan?
Have you considered:
How will your family get emergency alerts and warnings?
How will your family get to a safe location?
How will your family get in touch if cell phones and wifi won’t work?
The Department of Homeland Security provides a few easy steps to start your emergency communication plan, along with downloadable templates for parents, kids and even your wallet:
1. Understand how to receive emergency alerts and warnings.
Make sure all household members are able to get alerts about an emergency from local officials. Check with your local emergency management agency to see what is available in your area, and learn more about alerts by visiting: www.ready.gov/alerts.
2. Discuss family/household plans for disasters that may affect your area and plan where to go.
Plan together in advance so that everyone in the household understands where to go during a different type of disaster like a hurricane, tornado, or wildfire.
3. Collect information.
Create a paper copy of the contact information for your family that includes:
- phone (work, cell, office)
- social media
- medical facilities, doctors, service providers
4. Identify information and pick an emergency meeting place.
Things to consider:
- Decide on safe, familiar places where your family can go for protection or to reunite.
- Make sure these locations are accessible for household members with disabilities or access and functional needs.
- If you have pets or service animals, think about animal-friendly locations.
Examples of meeting places:
- In your neighborhood: A mailbox at the end of the driveway, or a neighbor’s house.
- Outside of your neighborhood: library, community center, place of worship, or family friend’s home.
- Outside of your town or city: home of a relative or family friend. Make sure everyone knows the address of the meeting place and discuss ways you would get there.
5. Share information.
Make sure everyone carries a copy in his or her backpack, purse, or wallet. You should also post a copy in a central location in your home, such as your refrigerator or family bulletin board.
6. Practice your plan.
Have regular household meetings to review your emergency plans, communication plans and meeting place after a disaster, and then practice, just like you would a fire drill.