Helping Your Family Plan For a Disaster
Knowing that your family is ready for the unexpected can help you do a better job if you are at work during a disaster. Here are some steps you can take to prepare your family:
- Find out about possible hazards in your area and how to respond to different types of emergency events.
- Make a family communication plan. Choose someone that all family members will contact in case of an emergency.
- Decide on meeting places. In case it is not safe to go home, pick two places outside your neighborhood to go in an emergency and make sure all family members know how to get there.
- Keep important documents safe. They should be kept in a waterproof and fireproof container. Documents should include lists of family members, date of birth, social security numbers, health problems, medications, etc. Keep an emergency money supply available, too.
- Post emergency phone numbers next to all phones. Teach younger children how and when to dial 911 or your local emergency number. Make sure they also know their last name and home address.
- Find out about your community's warning system. Know which radio/TV channels make emergency announcements. Know what the siren sounds like and the type of signals that are issued.
- Make an evacuation plan. If you are told to evacuate, do so immediately.
- If you have a car, decide ahead of time, several different routes your family could take and where you would go. Keep at least one half of a tank of gas in your car at all times.
- Keep a separate emergency kit in each car.
- If you do not have a vehicle, decide on how you and your family would leave an area.
- Make arrangements ahead of time for a safe place to leave pets. Most public shelters do not allow pets.
Put Together An Emergency Supply Kit For Your Family
- Water – Keep at least three gallons (a three day supply) for each family member. Store the water in clean plastic containers and change the supply every 6 months.
- Food - Store a three day supply for each family member. Choose foods that will not spoil easily and do not have to be heated. Rotate stored food with your regular supply so your emergency supply stays fresh.
- First Aid Kit – Including non-prescription and prescription medications.
- Clothing – A complete change of clothing and bedding for each family member.
- Pets - Pet supplies, including food and water.
- Dust masks.
- Battery powered radio and extra batteries.
- Matches in a waterproof container.
- Fire extinguisher.
- Kitchen items for food preparation (manual can opener, utensils, pots).
- Garbage bags.
- Personal hygiene items – such as toilet paper, toothpaste, soap, etc.
- Tools / Supplies – Plastic sheeting, duct tape, and scissors.
- Flashlight and batteries.
- Chlorine bleach.
This information was gained from "Disaster Preparedness – Planning for Bioterrorism and Other Emergencies" health-care staff handbook published by Channing-Bete.