Make a Family Emergency Plan

Evacuation services such as this Salvation Army canteen may be available at designated Community Refuge Areas such as the nearby MLK Dog Park Field | photo & post by Larry Clinton

Recently we reported on a new Disaster Preparedness Guide which can be downloaded free from the FHA website. This week we’re presenting an excerpt from that guide with tips for preparing your own family emergency plan:

  • Meet with household members  Explain the dangers—and your emergency plans—to children. Work with them as a team to prepare your family to deal with emergencies.
  • Discuss what to do about power outages and personal injuries.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers near your landlines and also enter them into your cell phone’s list of contacts.
  • Learn how to turn off the water, gas, and electricity at your home.
  • Decide where to meet  In the event of an emergency you may become separated from family members. Choose a place right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire. Choose a location outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home.
  • Choose an Out-of-Town contact  Ask an out-of-town friend or relative to be your contact in the event of a disaster. Everyone must know the contact’s phone number. It is often easier to make a long distance phone call than a local call from a disaster area.
  • Teach children how to call 911, send texts, and to make long distance telephone calls.
  • Complete a family communications plan  Your plan should include contact information for family members, work, and school.
  • Escape routes and safe places  In a fire or other emergency, you may need to evacuate very quickly. Be ready to get out fast. Be sure everyone in your family knows the best escape routes out of your home as well as where the safe places are in your home for each type of disaster. Draw a Home Escape Plan with your family outlining two escape routes from each room and practice the plan.

In coming weeks, we’ll present additional excerpts, along with other vital tips for dealing with natural catastrophes.