Make a Family Emergency Plan

Family emergency planning can be the key to surviving an emergency. It is important to talk to your family to prepare them for various emergencies. Ensure the whole family is a part of the planning process so that the plan addresses everyone's needs.

Recognize that in extreme situations, emergency resources may be limited. Be prepared to care for yourself and your family for at least three days (72 hours).

Planning Tips

  • Contact your local emergency management agency. Ask what kind of emergencies to prepare for in your area.
  • Ask local authorities about your community's evacuation plan.
  • Choose a safe room in your home in case you are told not to evacuate.
  • Designate 2 locations to meet in case it is impossible to return home or if you have to evacuate. Make sure family members know the address and phone number of both locations.
    • One near your home
    • One outside the neighborhood
  • Teach your children their address and phone number.
  • Put a list of emergency numbers by the phone. Only use the phone if someone needs immediate help. (Local authorities need access to the phone lines in an emergency situation).
  • Designate an out-of-area contact person. This person should be far enough away they would not be affected by the same event. Family members should call this person to report their locations. Provide contact person with important names/numbers so they can assist in keeping others posted.
  • Plan for health needs (prescriptions, medical supplies). If family members have disabilities, make a list of any special help needs.
  • Plan for your pets (shelters do not accept pets). Plan for livestock, if any.
  • Learn about emergency levels: 
    • Advisory
    • Watch
    • Warning
  • Learn types of emergency signals on radio and TV.
  • Learn First Aid and CPR. Contact your local Red Cross.
  • Ask your work, school, church or day care about their emergency procedures.
  • Locate your main water, electric and gas switches and valves, make sure everyone knows how to operate them.
  • Make copies of all important documents and keep them off-site in a secure location.
  • Meet with family members and talk about your emergency plan. Have practice drills.