When making a plan, it is important to include your entire family, including any caregivers for your children. Make sure that you plan on sharing responsibilities and work together as a team. This is especially important for kids because it empowers them rather than scares them. A plan is so important because if there is a situation where you do need to leave your home, everyone can remain calm because everyone knows his or her job!
Discuss the types of disasters that are most likely to happen in your community. Explain what to do in each case, i.e., earthquake, fire, and severe weather.
Your family may not be together when a disaster strikes so make sure you plan how you will contact one another. Cell phones might not be working so it is extremely important to have an out of town contact who knows your plan. Review what you will do in different situations.
Familiarize yourself with the emergency plan of your child’s school. If you don’t know it, ASK! You might also want to choose a parent that your child feels comfortable with to go home with in the event that you cannot get to school right away.
Once you have your plan in place DO NOT CHANGE YOUR PLAN. If disaster strikes, your mind will be going crazy. DO NOT second-guess yourself or your plan! Stick to it. You might think that it will only take 30 minutes to get to a certain location; however, you do not know what is going on in the area around you. STICK TO YOUR PLAN!!!
When making a plan with your family you need the following:
- Create an emergency phone numbers list including an out of town contact. Make sure your out of town contact knows your plan.
- Create an escape route and practice it at least 2 times a year.
- What is the best way to evacuate your home? Do you have a two-story house? If you choose to evacuate from a 2nd floor window, make sure your escape route is free from all obstructions including trees, bushes, air conditioners, etc. If you live in a one-story house, is it better to go out the front door? The back door? Ask yourself these questions when making your plan.
- If you get separated, where should you meet? You should choose 2 meeting places depending on the situation. If you are all at home and if you are not all at home. Keep in mind the very best place to be is at home. If you can stay in your home remain there. Do not leave. If you must leave, choose places that everyone is familiar with. If it is a park, then choose the exact location that you will meet i.e., the tree next to the women’s bathroom…. Remember that you will not be the only people meeting at the park. If you have a very specific meeting place your family will know EXACTLY where to meet.
- Who will get the children? This is important if you have more than one child. Think about how your home is laid out. Can one person get to both children? If your kids are younger, you might want to have one parent get one child and the other parent get the other child. What if something happens during school hours? Do you have a nanny? Can she get one of the children? Should she stay with the other child?
- Depending on how much time you have to leave, who will get the supplies?
- If you have pets, make sure you make a plan for them too.