In the event of an emergency, where would you go? Who would you call to let your family know you’re okay?
Thinking about these things in advance and developing an emergency action plan can help you and your family stay safe in the event of a natural disaster, a fire or a nationwide state of emergency. With a little bit of advance work, you can develop a plan you’re comfortable with and that you can execute quickly and efficiently.
Your emergency action plan should include:
• Escape routes: Draw a floor plan of your home. Mark two escape routes from each room, and make sure everyone in your house understands the drawing. Establish a place outside the home to meet in the event of an emergency such as a fire.
• Family communications: In the event of an emergency – especially one that interrupts cell phones – would you know how to reach your family members? Complete a contact card for each family member and have family members keep them handy. Choose a friend or relative who lives out-of-state for household members to notify they are safe.
• Utility shut-off and safety: It’s important to know where the utility shut-off switches are located and how to shut off your electricity, gas, water, etc. in the event of an emergency. Make sure you are familiar with these utilities and how to handle them safely.
• Caring for animals: Humans are the most visible victims of disasters, but pets are often affected, too. To plan for Fido and Fluffy, identify shelters in your area, gather pet supplies, ensure your pet has proper ID and up-to-date veterinary records, and keep a pet carrier or leash accessible.
This works as a general outline of an emergency plan, but it’s also important to cater your plan to your family’s needs. Many government agencies and websites have action plan kits you can print out and complete. Check out the FEMA and CDC websites.