Family Disaster Plan
Disaster can strike quickly and without warning. It can force you to evacuate your neighborhood or confine you to your home. Prepare in advance and follow the steps listed below to create your family?s disaster plan. Knowing what to do is your best protection and your responsibility.
Store these supplies in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers such as backpacks, duffle bags or covered trash containers. Include:
- 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 for infant, elderly, or disabled family members.
- An extra pair of glasses.
- Keep important family documents in a waterproof container.
Create a Family Disaster Plan
- Pick two places to meet: Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency or 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." Other family members should call this person and tell them where they are. Everyone must know your contact's phone number.
Complete This Checklist
- 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.
- 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 a Red Cross 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.
- Locate the main electric fuse box, water service main and natural gas main. Learn how and when to turn these utilities off. Teach all responsible family members. Keep necessary tools near gas and water shut-off valves.
- Remember, turn off the utilities only if you suspect the lines are damaged or if you are instructed to do so.
- If you turn the gas off, you will need a gas company worker to turn it back on, do not do it yourself!
- Evacuate immediately if told to do so:
- Listen to your battery-powered radio and follow the instructions of local emergency officials.
- Wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes.
- Take your Disaster Supplies Kit.
- Lock your home.
- Use travel routes specified by local authorities--don?t use shortcuts because certain areas may be impassable or dangerous.
- If you're sure you have time:
- Shut off water, gas and electricity before leaving, if instructed to do so.
- Post a note telling when you left and where you are going.
- Make arrangements for your pets.
- Check for damage in your home
- Use flashlights, do not light matches or turn on electric switches, if you suspect damage.
- Check for fires, fire hazards and other household hazards.
- Sniff for gas leaks, starting at the water heater. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open windows and get everyone outside quickly.
- Shut off any other damaged utilities.
- Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline and other flammable liquids immediately.
- Take your pets with you, as well as their evacuation kit (some water, some dry food, vet tags, vaccination records, leash, and a muzzle if needed)..
- Call your family contact; do not use the telephone again unless it is a life-threatening emergency.
- Check on your neighbors, especially elderly or disabled persons.
- Make sure you have adequate water supply in case service is cutoff.
- Stay away from downed power lines.