When it comes to preparing for a disaster, having a plan is key. Without a plan, families can easily become overwhelmed and confused in the midst of an emergency. A disaster preparedness plan provides a roadmap for what to do in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency. It can help keep everyone safe and calm, and make sure everyone knows what to do and where to go.
It doesn’t need to be complicated, just easy enough for everyone to understand.
What Is A Family Disaster Plan?
When a disaster strikes, it can be difficult to know what to do or where to turn. That's why it's important for families to have a plan in place. By having a plan, you can be prepared for anything that comes your way.
So, what is a family disaster plan? A family disaster plan is a document that outlines what you and your family will do in the event of an emergency. It should include things like how you will communicate with each other, where you will go, and what you will need.
Families should practice their disaster plan so everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency. By being prepared, families can minimize the impact of a disaster and keep everyone safe.
Things To Consider:
Identify hazards around the home
Learn about what type of disasters might happen in your area. If you’re near the beach, then a hurricane might affect you differently to if you’re further inland or on higher ground. Some common hazards include fires, floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes. By knowing what hazards could potentially affect your home, you can be better prepared for them.
Find hazards that may be detrimental in your immediate area, or on your property. These can be things such as trees, or even the structural integrity of your house. Power lines may also be a hazard and could cause some serious danger to you and your house, especially if there’s flooding.
It is important to assess your home's hazards and threats in order to create a disaster plan. There are many potential hazards that can affect your home, so it is important to be aware of them and have a plan to protect your family.
Know where the emergency kits are
Whether you’re camping out at home until the storm passes or you’re getting ready to evacuate, it is very helpful to know where everything is and to know that it is easily accessible. You don’t want to be running around the house trying to collect all the important things at the last minute, because you will likely forget something.
Many people keep their emergency kits near the front door, or in a bedroom closet, ready to grab and go.
If you’re unsure of where to start with building an emergency kit, we’ve written a blog to help you with just that.
Learn about your communities emergency protocol and signals
Some communities only have one road leading in and out, so it’s important to know how to evacuate carefully and without causing a frenzy. Your community may have a block-by-block evacuation plan so that there aren’t any traffic jams caused, or alternative transportation to get everyone out.
There could be texts sent out or a siren that will go off, but sometimes sirens have different meanings. So find a way to get informed about these things within your community.
Create A Family Emergency Plan:
Creating a plan
Put a plan together as a family. Ready.gov has a list of questions that you can ask one another and discuss as a family. Not only does this make everyone feel involved, but it also gives the whole family an idea of what the plan is, step-by-step.
A few important things to note in your plan:
The responsibilities of each family member in the case of a crisis.
A meeting point if there’s a need to split up for whatever reason. This could also be arranged with friends or family members in the area.
A meeting point can also be somewhere on your property if there’s a fire or an earthquake.
If you or someone in your household has a disability or is on the spectrum, it may be harder to get out of the house. It’s a good idea to make your family or neighbors aware of what your needs are in the case of an emergency, and how they can help.
Make a custom evacuation plan for your house, identifying alternative routes or pathways. Have the plan drawn or printed out.
Emergency numbers: for emergency services, other family members or close friends.
Plan for if you have a car and don’t have a car. Planning for both will give you an idea of routes to take or alternative transport that you need to organize.
Make a list of important things you will need to take with you if there’s a need to evacuate. Emergency kits are very helpful in this instance, because they should have most things. But they won’t necessarily work long term if you know that you will be out of your house for more than 72 hours. So put down a few extra things you know you can grab quickly, but that are also essentials.
Practice the plan
Making sure everyone in the house knows what they need to do and where they need to be is very important.
You can make it a fun exercise, especially for younger kids, while reminding everyone that it will look very different in a real life situation.
If you’re concerned that your children may not be prepared enough with just the evacuation drill, there are other techniques to help them prepare, in a more subtle way. Teach them basic life skills throughout their day-to-day life.
Survivor Filter’s products are a good idea to have around your home, especially those based in high disaster prone areas. They are perfect for sliding into emergency kits, or for having in your kitchen in case of water contamination.
If you’re interested in hearing how we got started, here’s an interview with our founder, Mark Zakaib along with some tips on running a successful business.