Information: Family Disaster Planning

Where will your family be when disaster strikes?
How will you find each other? Will you know if your children are safe?

 Step 1: Emergency Supplies

Keep enough supplies in your home to meet your needs for at least three days. Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit with items you may need in an evacuation. Store these supplies in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers such as backpacks, duffle bags or covered trash containers.

• A three-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day) and food that won't spoil.
• One change of clothing and footwear per person, and one blanket or sleeping bag per person.
• A first Aid kit that includes your family's prescription medications.
• Emergency tools including a battery-powered radio, flashlight and plenty of extra batteries.
• An extra set of car keys and a credit card, cash or traveler's checks.
• Sanitation supplies.
• Special items of infant, elderly or disabled family members.
• An extra pair of glasses.

 Step 2: Create a Disaster Plan

Meet with your family and discuss why you need to prepare for disaster. Explain the dangers of fire, severe weather and earthquakes to children. Plan to share responsibilities and work together as a team.

• Discuss the types of disasters that are most likely to happen. Explain what to do in each case.

• Pick two places to meet:
1. Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire.
2. Outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home. Everyone must know the address and phone number.

• Ask an out-of-state friend to be your "family contact. After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Other family members should call this person and tell them where they are. Everyone must know your contact's phone number.

• Discuss what to do in any evacuation. Plan how to take care of your pets.
Step 3: Complete This Checklist

• Post emergency telephone numbers by phones (fire, police, ambulance, etc.)
• Teach children how and when to call 911 or your local Emergency Medical Services number for emergency help.
• Show each family member how and when to turn off the water, gas and electricity at the main switches.
• Check if you have adequate insurance coverage.
• Teach each family member how to use the fire extinguisher (ABC type), and show them where it's kept.
• ICE (In case of Emergency) programmed into cell phone in case of emergency
• Triangle of life
• Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms.
• Conduct a home hazard hunt.
• Stock emergency supplies and assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit.
• Take first aid and CPR class.
• Determine the best escape routes from your home. Find two ways out of each room.
• Find the safe spots in your home for each type of disaster.
• Copies of Prescriptions
• Cash or Travelers checks
Step 4: Practice and Maintain Your Plan

• Quiz your kids every six months so they remember what to do.
• Conduct fire and emergency evacuation drills.
• Replace stored water every three months and stored food every six months.
• Test and recharge your fire extinguishers according to manufacturer's instructions.
• Test your smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.

Have your family prepared for natural disasters and emergency situations by drafting a disaster plan everyone can memorize and follow through on.