The likelihood becomes even less in the chance of a disaster. Odds are your children will be at school, your pet will be at home and you will be at work. How will you contact one another, get back together and handle the disaster in your individual locations?
Making a family emergency plan will help you to think about these questions and answer them before the disaster strikes. Plan in advance how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in different situations. Depending on your circumstances and the nature of the emergency, the first important decision is whether you stay where you are or evacuate. Understand and plan for both possibilities.
These actions will help you plan for emergencies:
- Identify an out-of town contact for every member of your household. Phone lines are often busy or out of service during major disasters, and it may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town.
- Equip your family with the contact’s phone number and a cell phone or prepaid phone card. Program your emergency contact as “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) in your phone. If you are in an accident, emergency personnel will often check your ICE listings in order to get a hold of someone you know. You can also add a designated “Home” or “Work” entry so that these phone numbers can be easily accessed in an emergency situation.
- Teach family members how to use text messaging. This tactic can be used when network disruptions prevent a phone call from connecting.
- Empower your kids to become part of the emergency planning process. Quiz kids about the family plan at dinner. Explain where the family will reunite after an emergency. Shop for your emergency supply kit with the kids. Be sure they know where the kits are stored.