You may have installed the best security and burglar system in your house, you may have a large storage house of canned goods in case of outage or crisis, and you may have the most complete emergency kit in the house, but if you have don’t have an effective emergency plan, it will all just go to waste.
This is one of those things applicable to every survival scenario. It actually just takes less than an hour for you to formulate an emergency plan, have it printed and give each member of the family a copy. So, gather your folks around and start an emergency preparedness plan right now.
What is emergency preparedness planning by the way?
Well, for starters, emergency preparedness planning refers to a set of activities or list of reminders that will orient every member of the family on what to do in case of emergencies.
A disaster can be of any form, it can be of natural causes like earthquake, tornadoes, hurricanes and tsunamis. A disaster can be an accident like gas explosion, electricity accident, fire, crime-related like burglary, home invasion or it can even be financial or economical disasters, such as money crisis. It can be as simple as an electric transformer blowing out causing a power outage or more extensive like an EMP caused by a solar storm or nuclear blast. It might come as a virus pandemic like COVID-19.
Even when you are at home, when you expect utmost safety, disaster can still take place. When you leave your loved ones at home, how will you contact them in case of emergencies, where will you meet, who will they call?
It’s important to include kids in the disaster planning process. Review your family emergency plan together so that they know what to do even if you are not there.
Emergency Planning Resources
These are just some of the questions that can be answered when you do emergency preparedness planning with your family. So here are the steps.
First, make sure that every member of the family is present before discussing:
- What are the safe exits of the house? Exit doors are usually found in the kitchen, but what if the emergency took place in the kitchen, will the main door be a good option for exit. How about in rooms, do the kids have assigned routes to emergency exits?
- What do people do if they are away from home when a disaster strikes? Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find. You should identify a meeting place for your family that might be your favorite restaurant or a relative living nearby.
- Assign a person who will pick up your kids when you can not make it.
- Make a list of contact numbers of your neighbors, distant family members, and emergency services.
- Download and practice a group texting app so your entire circle of family and friends can keep in touch before, during & after an emergency.
- Keep a list of health conditions of your family.
- Inform everyone in the house about the location of floor drains, gas valves, water pipes, electrical boxes and fire extinguishers.
- Learn how to turn off utilities like natural gas in your home.
This planning step is only the beginning of a more comprehensive plan. We’ll get into the other steps in another article, but everyone should at least start here. Having this basic step completed will already put you ahead of the majority of people.
As a final thought on emergency preparedness planning, teach your family on how to be responsive and manage stress during critical moments.
Get ideas for how to involve kids in disaster planning at ready.gov/kids