Making a Family Emergency Plan

By definition, emergencies happen when we don’t expect them, and often when families are not together. Suddenly, you need to think about your kids at school or elderly parents across town. If phones don’t work, or some neighborhoods aren’t accessible, what will you do?

Preparing a Family Emergency Plan

It’s your responsibility to start gathering supplies and start thinking about what your family will need for at least 72 hours in an emergency, 7 days would be ideal. Recent events have shown us that sometimes the government can’t come to our rescue for several days so plan to be on your own for at least a week and then you’ll be ready. It is much better to be prepared and not need it than to need it and not have been prepared.

Everyday Behavioral Changes

Things happen when you least expect it – part of being ready to instantly respond is not having to think about where critical items are kept – especially your flashlight, glasses, keys, wallet and cell phone.

When you are suddenly awoken in the middle of the night you don’t want to have to think about where you left critical items needed for your response or escape

Ideally the following items would be kept in your bedroom in the exact same place every night

  • Keep a flashlight next to your bed – leave it in the same place every night – replace the batteries every 6 months (even if you don’t use it)
  • Your cell phone and glasses should always be in your bedroom at night and placed in the exact same location
  • Your car keys and wallet should always be in the same location
  • It is a great idea to also have your pants and shoes in a regular location –
  • Place your purse in the same location every day

Recommended Emergency Supplies

Basic Emergency Supply Kit

• Water and non-perishable food for several days
• Extra cell phone battery or charger
• Battery-powered or hand crank radio that can receive NOAA Weather Radio tone alerts and extra batteries
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• First aid kit
• Whistle to signal for help
• Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
• Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
• Non-sparking wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
• Can opener (if kit contains canned food)
• Local maps

Additional Items

• Prescription medications and glasses
• Infant formula and diapers
• Pet food, water and supplies for your pet
• Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a portable waterproof container
• Cash and change
• Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from
• Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
• Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
• Fire Extinguisher
• Matches in a waterproof container
• Feminine supplies, personal hygiene items and hand sanitizer
• Mess kits, Paper cups, plates and disposable utensils, paper towels
• Paper and pencil
• Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children