Where will your family be if a disaster strikes? They could be anywhere – at work, at school or even in the car. How will you find each other? Disasters may force you to evacuate your neighborhood or your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so now is the time to plan in advance how you contact one another, get back together and what to do in different situations. Below are some important items to remember when preparing your plan:
- Discuss the type of hazards that could affect your family.
- Locate a safe room or the safest area in your home. In certain circumstances the safest area may not be in your home but within your community.
- Determine escape routes from your home and know your meeting place.
- Have an out-of-state friend as a family contact, allowing all your family members to have a single point of contact.
- Make a plan for what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate.
- Post emergency telephone numbers by your phones or program them in your cell phones and make sure your children know how and when to call 911.
- Check your insurance coverage especially since flood damage is not always covered by homeowners insurance.
- Stock non-perishable emergency supplies and a disaster supply kit.
- Use a NOAA weather radio and replace its battery every six months.
- Take First Aid, CPR and disaster preparedness classes.
- Assign everyone in your family a list of preparation activities, or allot a substantial amount of lead time if you don’t have anyone to help you.
Meet with your family to create a disaster plan then practice and maintain it. The best plan in the world won’t do you or your family much good if no one can remember it. Be smart – be prepared – be responsible and most importantly, be safe.