If an emergency occurs, it is unlikely that emergency response services can immediately respond to everyone’s needs. That’s why it’s so important to be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for at least the first 72 hours.
One of the most important steps you can take in preparing for emergencies is to develop a Family Communication Plan. With this plan, you will be taking the first step to keep your family safe.
Get in the know! Gather emergency facts and plan for what to do:
· Learn about emergencies that could occur in your area.
· Talk with employers and school officials about their emergency response plans.
· Talk about these potential situations with your family.
· Make plans for what to do for each...tornados, earthquakes, home fire, etc.
· Know how to reach one another if a disaster prevents you from joining up.
· Determine where to meet, if going home is not an option.
· Plan where to take shelter within your home if needed.
· Decide on pick-up locations for the workplace and school of every family member, and who will do the picking up.
· Practice your evacuation plans if you have to leave quickly.
· Make sure young children know how and when to call 9-1-1.
Designate an emergency contact person outside the family:
· Choose a friend or relative to serve as an emergency family contact point.
· Choose someone that is far enough away to not be affected by the same emergency.
· Provide this person with the names and contact information of the people you want to keep informed of your situation.
· Instruct family members to call the out-of-town contact point, and tell them where they are. Remember, long-distance phone service is often restored sooner than local service.
· Program the name, phone number and email address of your contact person into each family member's cell phone. Remember to update frequently because cell, school, and job numbers can change throughout the year!
· Carry your family contact person's information in your wallet and give a copy to children for his or her book bag, wallet or purse. This will be very important, since cell phones can be lost or broken, and wireless service can become overloaded from increased traffic.
Keep records of emergency contacts and personal information:
· Make a list of key emergency contact numbers and keep the list current.
· Duplicate important documents and keep copies off-site, either in a safety deposit box or with someone you trust. Documents may include: passport, driver's license, social security card, wills, deeds, financial statements, insurance information, marriage license and prescriptions.
· Inventory valuables, in writing and with photographs or video. Keep copies of this information off-site with your other important documents.