Sometimes it is the simplest things that are overlooked. Case in point? The Family Emergency Plan.
Here we are, so diligently putting away food, storing water and purchasing gear when perhaps one of the most important aspects of emergency and crisis planning has to do with having a plan to get in touch with family members and loved ones after disaster strikes. Equally important is having a plan for meeting up at a safe location as well an evacuation plan for getting there.
Whew! Sounds like a lot of work pulling this all together. But it does not have to be difficult. Below you will find ten easy steps for creating a family emergency plan as well as on online tool to get you started. Don’t worry, this is going to be easy.
The Family Emergency Plan – Let’s get started
1. Sit down with your family members and decide how you will get in contact with each other in an emergency. Possible methods may be by cell phone, texting, email, or a standard land line.
2. Once you figure this out, document the contact information on both a master sheet and on wallet sized cards to be carried by all family members. This document will become your “Family Communication Plan” and it will form the cornerstone of your family emergency plan. It will list all family members, their date of birth, and other important information. Include a photo for each person as well as any important medical information. Also include a contact number for an out of town contact person.
3. Determine a meeting place where you will meet in the event you can not get home. This may be your workplace, the home of a parent or relative, your church or even at a school if there are children involved. Whatever you decide, you will need at least three possible locations:
- Your home or the home of a designated family member
- A safe meeting place near home
- A safe meeting place outside your immediate neighborhood
4. Determine the best evacuation routes from your home or workplace to the safe meeting places. Go to Google Maps or some other online tool and create maps showing your evacuation route along with printed directions. Then take the route and make sure it is accurate and that you understand the directions. This is important! You must drill and practice your evacuation procedure.
5. Prepare a list of all workplaces along with the address, telephone number, and closes evacuation location in the event getting to the pre-designated meeting place is not possible.
6. Also prepare a list of all schools that are attended by your children along with the address, contact names, and telephone numbers. Contact the schools now to learn about their own emergency evaluation policies and procedures.
7. Prepare a list of your doctors and your veterinarian along with their telephone numbers.
8. Prepare a list of your insurance policies, including the carrier, the telephone number for claims, and the policy number itself. Include health insurance, homeowners or rental insurance, life insurance policies.
9. Consider creating a phone tree. Think of your phone tree as a pyramid where the person at the top of the pyramid contacts two people, who each call two more people, and so on, until every person on the tree has been contacted. This will allow you to distribute information quickly without redundancy and without placing the burden of work on one person.
10. Store all of the information you have carefully compiled in multiple locations:
- Your bug out bags and go-bags
- Your family preparedness binder
- On a flash drive that you carry with you
- In your desk drawer at work
One easy way to get started is to go to the FEMA Ready site where you can fill out much of this information online. You can then print out the online document and add the supplemental information on your own. You will find the fill-in form here: Family Emergency Plan Fill-In Form.
Whatever you do, do not fall prey to rip-off artists who will want to charge your hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to prepare a Family Emergency Plan for you. Unless you are independently wealthy, you can do it yourself over the course of one weekend. (Be sure to read my article, The Black Umbrella Rip Off to give you an idea of the sneaky ways folks will try to coax you out of your money.)
Then don’t forget to practice your evacuation plan and to test your escape routes. Your safety – and your life – may depend on it.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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From the Bargain Bin: Check out the current Survival Woman picks below.
Kingston 8GB DataTraveler Flash Drive: These are great for storing all types of things. Keep one on every family member’s keychain with a copy of your Family Emergency Plan as well as other useful information that will be needed in a disaster or crisis.
Lodge Charcoal Chimney Starter: This is another one of those items that I never knew existed until I started practicing cooking with charcoal on my Volcano Grill. This sure beats using lighter fluid and it is FAST! Amazing, actually.
550 lb. Type III Nylon Paracord: I wish I had known about Paracord years ago. With a recent price reduction to less than $8.00, there is no reason not to have a few hundred feet around your home, in your car, and in your bug out bag.
Lodge Logic 12-Inch Pre-Seasoned Skillet: Finally! My favorite cast iron skillet is back under $20. For awhile it was priced at $25. Keep and eye on this one. Anything under $19 is a good price. Don’t forget the Lodge Set of 2 Pan Scrapers, a must have for cleaning those food bits from your cast iron cookware.
Emergency Essentials is your source for all things preparedness, from prepackaged foods to water barrels, to go bag kits. They just announced a number of specials for the month of September including ASAP Silver Solution at $12.99 for an 8 ounce bottle. Metallic silver has been used for centuries as a natural antibacterial agent for wound care, and even water treatment.
Shop the Emergency Essentials Monthly Specials: The monthly specials at Emergency Essentials feature discounts of up to 35% off sometimes a bit more.
I eat a lot of fruit (usually three whole fruits a night as a bedtime snack) and in a SHTF situation, fruits will be something I will really miss. The Freeze-Dried Fruit Favorites Combo from Emergency Essentials is something I use all year round. With the grocery store a 20 mile round trip journey, I like the thought of being able to rehydrate my own fruit, in the quantity I want, at a moments notice.
The selection includes Apple Dices, Bananas, Peaches, Pineapple Dices, Blueberries and Strawberries.
But not to be left out, there are veggies too. The deluxe supply of Freeze Dried Vegetables includes 18 #10 tins of the following veggies in various quantities: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Sweet Corn, Green Beans, Green Peppers, Green Peas, Mushrooms, Potato Dices, Spinach, and White Onions.
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