Create Your Family Emergency Plan
There isn't much time to think in an emergency. That's why it's important to educate your family about emergency preparedness and create a Family Emergency Plan in advance. Make sure every family member is familiar with the plan and post it in a visible area (e.g., on the refrigerator or by the telephone). Review some important topics to cover and then visit our Sample Family Emergency Plan to create your own.
- Discuss disasters most likely to occur. Plan what to do in each case, using information provided by your local American Red Cross chapter. Locate the "safe spots" in each room for each type of disaster.
- Pick two places to meet. One place should be right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire. The other should be outside your neighborhood, in case you can't return home. Every family member must know the address and phone number of your designated meeting place.
- Ask an out-of-state friend to be your "family contact." After a disaster, long distance phone service is typically restored before local service. In the event of an emergency, family members should call the "family contact" and indicate where they are.
- Discuss what to do in an evacuation. Identify two escape routes from every room in your home. Practice evacuating. Plan how to take care of your pets.
- Show each family member how, where, and when to shut off the water, gas, and electricity for the house. Keep all necessary tools near the gas and water shut-off valves. Remember: turn the utilities off only if you suspect the lines are damaged or if the utility company instructs you to do so. Once you turn off the gas, you'll need a professional to turn it back on. If you have any questions, call the appropriate utility company. TIP: Your local utility company has easy-to-use instructions on resetting your circuit breakers.
- Outfit your home with ABC-type fire extinguishers and teach every family member how to use them. This type of extinguisher is approved for use on both regular and electrical fires. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for testing and recharging each devise.
- Inspect your home for potential hazards. Secure and/or repair any items that may move, fall, break or cause a fire in an emergency.
Congratulations! You and your family just took a big step toward emergency preparedness.
Emergency Planning - Create Your Family Emergency Plan
Sample Family Emergency Plan
You can use the sample emergency plan below for your own family. Print and fill out the items below, and then post your finished plan someplace that the whole family can see everyday.
Our Family Emergency Plan
Important phone numbers:
Electric Company: ________________________
Gas Company: ___________________________
Water Company: _________________________
In case of emergency, meet here:
(choose a place right outside of your house, like "the end of the driveway")
If away from the house and unable to return, meet here:
(a place outside your neighborhood, like "Mom's office" or "Aunt Joan's house")
If you are separated from everyone, call:
(choose an out-of-state friend or relative who is prepared to be your emergency contact)
Three Day Emergency Supply Checklist
In case of an emergency, the items on this list will help meet your family's needs for three days. A smaller version of this kit should be stored in the trunk of your car. The items should be kept in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers such as backpacks, duffel bags, or sealable plastic containers (like trash containers or storage bins).
- One gallon of water per person per day (water supplies should be replaced every three months).
- Food that won't spoil (food supplies should be replaced every six months).
One change of clothing, sturdy shoes, a rain poncho, and one blanket or sleeping bag per person.
A first aid kit that includes your family's prescription medications (replace as directed).
An extra pair of glasses.
A credit card, cash, and coin change (ATM machines will not work during a power outage).
An extra set of car keys.
Paper, pens, and stamps.
- A city map.
- A battery-powered radio.
- Extra batteries of all sizes.
A knife or razor blades.
- An ABC-type fire extinguisher approved for use on regular and electric fires.
A water-purification kit or household bleach.
A tool kit (including a screwdriver, pliers, a hammer, and an adjustable wrench for turning off the gas main).
A coil of 1/2" rope. Large plastic trash bags.
Soap, detergent, and shampoo.
Toothpaste and toothbrushes.
Feminine hygiene supplies.
A non-electric can opener.
Plastic utensils, paper plates, cups.
A cooking stove, aluminum foil, and at least one small pan.
Pet supplies: leashes, food, and water.
Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members.
Keep important family documents in an easy-to-access waterproof and fireproof container. Put copies of vital records in a safe deposit box. Consider photographing or videotaping all valuables and keeping those records in the safe deposit box as well.
For more information visit the American Red Cross.