Making a Family Emergency Plan: 50 Questions You Need to AskYou’ve probably heard it. Make a plan. It’s important to make a family emergency plan. I heard it, too. After 9-1-1, I heard it often, so I sat down with my husband and we wrote out our family emergency plan. Thankfully, we no longer have that plan. Why? Because, it was woefully inadequate. We completed a simple form, similar to the Family Emergency Plan available here at Ready.gov, called it good and tossed it inside our 72-hour kit, which was also inadequate. While the Ready.gov Family Emergency Plan form is an important tool—although, I prefer Next Level Readiness’ version of the form here—it isn’t enough without a thoughtful discussion involving all family members. And to prompt a thoughtful discussion, you have to know what questions to ask.
Here are 50 questions that got my family talking as we rewrote our emergency plan:1. What type of disaster is most likely to happen in our area? 2. Does everyone know how to prepare for the disaster? 3. Does everyone know what to do if the disaster occurs? 4. What resources or agencies can give us more information about how to plan an appropriate response to the disaster? 5. Does everyone know the safe spots inside (or outside) our home for each type of disaster that could occur? 6. What kind of emergency alert system does our community have? 7. What does the emergency alert sound like? 8. What should we do when we hear the emergency alert? 9. What radio or TV stations broadcast emergency info for our area? 10. If there are members of the family with special needs (i.e.. someone with a specifically identified disability, limited English language proficiency or an elderly person) are they able to receive emergency alerts or do they need a special tool to assist them? 11. Are there special agencies available to assist the family members with special needs during an emergency? 12. Have we registered for their assistance program? 13. What are the community’s evacuation routes? 14. Have we mapped the routes out (MapQuest, Google Maps, GPS)? 15. If evacuation is necessary, does each family member know what task they are responsible for (ie. loading the supplies into the car) and understand what’s expected of them? 16. Where would we evacuate to? 17. If the roads aren’t passable, what’s our secondary evacuation plan? 18. What is the school’s emergency plan or disaster procedure? 19. For working family members, what’s the emergency plan or disaster procedure at the workplace? 20. Are all emergency telephone numbers posted by the phone? 21. Does everyone in the family know how to call 9-1-1? 22. Does everyone in the family know when to call 9-1-1? 23. Do all cell phone users have an “In Case of Emergency” contact filed under the word ICE in their contacts list, so first responders would know who to call? 24. Do all adults have a Living Will and/or Healthcare Power of Attorney? 25. Do we have adequate insurance—life, auto, home, flood? 26. In case we’re separated during a sudden emergency, like a house fire, where is the family meeting place right outside of the house? 27. Where is the family meeting place outside of the neighborhood, in case we can’t return home? 28. Who is the out-of-state contact person for our family? 29. Who is the local contact person for our family? 30. Does everyone know how to contact them? 31. Does everyone know where the main switches to the utilities—gas, electric and water— are located? 32. Does everyone know how to turn the utilities off? 33. Does everyone know when to turn the utilities off? 34. Does each family member know what the smoke detector alarm sounds like? 35. Does everyone know what to do if the smoke detector goes off? 36. Does each family member know what the carbon monoxide detector alarm sounds like? 37. Does everyone know what to do if the carbon monoxide detector goes off? 38. Does each family member know what the burglar alarm sounds like? 39. Does everyone know what to do if the burglar alarm goes off? 40. Have we planned at least 2 escape routes from each room of the house? 41. Is at least one person in the family certified in first aid and CPR? 42. Do we have all family records stored in a water and fire-proof container? 43. Do our pets have tags and microchips for identification purposes? 44. If we have to evacuate, which family member will be responsible for gathering our pets? 45. Is our evacuation spot a pet-friendly place? 46. If not, what will we do with our pets? 47. If we can’t make it home, who will be available to care for or evacuate our pets? 48. What arrangements can be made for evacuating our livestock? 49. If evacuation isn’t possible, will we shelter livestock or turn them outside? 50. When will we gather again to review and/or make changes to this plan? Go ahead, call a family meeting and get started on your emergency plan.
Julie Sczerbinski is a former Coach purse-carrying, now bug out bag-packing wife and mom of 2. She blogs about her transition from country club to country living and from fast food to food storage with the hope of helping you make the change from a “flick the switch” life into a more self-reliant lifestyle. Stop in and say hi at Home Ready Home or join the conversation on Facebook.
The Final WordA positive outcome of the media’s attention to Preppers is that more and more folks are beginning to view being prepared as an important aspect of their overall “insurance” strategy. My frequent emphasis on the importance of a family emergency plan has as much to do with convincing Prepper newbies that there is more to being prepared than storing some food and learning self defense. And so I end for today with the question I asked at the start: Do you have a family emergency plan?
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation! GayeIf you have not done so already, please be sure to like Facebook which is updated every time there is an awesome new article, news byte, or link to a free survival, prepping or homesteading book on Amazon. You can also follow Backdoor Survival on Pinterest. In addition, when you sign up to receive email updates you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide. Almost Free: At the time of this writing, this whistle is a bit over $1 with free shipping. How bad can it be? I just ordered one: 3 in 1 Survival Whistle with Compass Thermometer. There is also this pea-less version for $1.95: Ultimate Survival Technologies Camping Hear-Me Emergency Safety Whistle, Orange.
Bargain Bin: For your discernment, here are some items that are popular with BDS readers including the items in the current Amazon Top 10. Morakniv Craftline Q Allround Fixed Blade Utility Knife: Also known as the Mora 511, this is now my favorite knife. It is made of Swedish steel and is super sharp. I paid $12 for this knife last week and today it is $8.95 so I ordered another one. It was worth $12 and of course is a steal at $8.95! LifeStraw Personal Water Filter: The LifeStraw is considered the most advanced, compact, ultra light personal water filter available. It contains no chemicals or iodinated resin, no batteries and no moving parts to break or wear out. It weighs only 2oz. making it perfect for the prepper. For more information, see my LifeStraw review. Magnesium Fire Starter: This Campers’ Magnesium Emergency Fire Starter is about $4. UCO Stormproof Match Kit with Waterproof Case, 25 Stormproof Matches and 3 Strikers: The UCO Stormproof Match Kit is waterproof and holds 25 matches as well as spare strikers. The matches burn for around 15 seconds and are windproof, waterproof, and even continue burning underwater. An integrated striker is attached on the side of the match kit, and can be replaced when worn out. 2 Pack Survival Kit Can Opener, Military, P-51 Model: These can openers makes great addition to any survival, fishing, hiking, or camping pack. They are lightweight and robust and they just work. Rothco 550lb. Type III Nylon Paracord: An ideal all-around utility cord in the field, paracord is tough and long lasting. It is made from 550-pound test nylon and features a seven-strand core for maximum strength. Also, it is manufactured in the United States. Note that some colors may be more expensive than others. Need ideas? See 44 Really Cool Uses of Paracord for Survival.
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A couple of the top sale items this month are the Freeze-Dried Diced Roast Beef Steak at 32% off and the Hot Cocoa Combo. You know how I like to have comfort foods and hot chocolate is right up there on the list. This particular combo includes 4 cans: French Vanilla, Mint Truffle, Raspberry, and your basic Gourmet Creamy Hot Chocolate.These are just two of the items on sale this month at Emergency Essentials.
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