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Create a Family Emergency Preparedness Plan

Many types of emergencies happen quickly and with little or no warning. You might have to leave your neighborhood or be confined to your home. By being prepared you can help prevent or reduce harm to your family, yourself and others.

Creating an emergency preparedness plan in advance can help your family respond quickly and more effectively. All family members should help prepare the plan and assist in assembling a basic emergency response kit so that all required individual items will be included.

In creating your plan and kit, take time to consider those with special needs. These can include elderly family members, infants and children, family members with physical and mental disabilities, and pets.

Reviewing and maintaining your plan is just as important as creating one. Review your plan each year or during peak disaster seasons, such as hurricane season. Be sure to review your needs and update your emergency kit as family needs change. Review and update all contact information and documentation.

Families should meet to discuss why you need to prepare for emergency situations and plan to share responsibilities and work together as a team. Pick two places to meet; one just outside your home in case of fire or other sudden emergency and the other outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home. Everyone should know where this meeting place is located and a phone number there. Make sure everyone has a copy of the plan that is easy to find.

If you are planning to evacuate during an emergency, decide on transportation, allow plenty of time to evacuate, have your basic emergency kit ready to travel, and secure your home. This means locking up your home and unplugging small appliances. Contact your utility companies to learn how to turn off utilities properly, and ask what is required to have them turned on again. This is good information to know in advance.

Those people planning to go to a designated emergency shelter should remember:

  • Decide beforehand where you will seek shelter and have a designated meeting place.
  • Take your emergency supply kit with you so that your family will have the supplies that they will need at the shelter.
  • Be considerate and helpful to others in the shelter. Practice the basic principles of disease control and follow any specific shelter instructions.
  • Register upon arrival at the shelter and establish a designated meeting place within the shelter site for your family.
  • Remain at the shelter until authorities say it is safe to leave.

Page last updated: May 13, 2021