In order to fully prepare for a large-scale emergency, you need to take the time now to establish a well thought-out plan. Be sure you and your family have a back-up plan for taking care of sick children or other loved ones at home. Below are some American Red Cross guidelines for creating your own family emergency plan. Commit a weekend every six months to update phone numbers and supplies, and to review your plan with your family.
Talk: Talk with your family about disasters that can happen where you live. Establish responsibilities for each member of the household, and work together as a team. Designate alternates in case someone is absent.
Plan: Choose two places to meet after a disaster. One should be right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, such as a fire. The other should be outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate your neighborhood.
Learn: Each adult in your household should learn how and when to turn off utilities such as electricity, water and gas. Ask someone at the fire department to show you how to use the fire extinguisher in your home.
Check Supplies: Review your emergency supplies and replace water and food every six months. More information on supplies can be found on our Survival Kit page.
Tell: Tell everyone in the household where emergency contact information is kept. Make copies for each member to carry with them. Be sure to include an out-of-town contact; it may be easier to call out of the area if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service.
Practice: Practice evacuating your home twice a year. Drive your planned evacuation route and plot alternate routes on a map in case main roads are impassible or gridlocked. Practice drills at home, school and work.