Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Family Emergency Plan and Why Everyone Should Have One

What would happen if a large earthquake hit next week and you were at work, your spouse was at work and the kids are at school? Would you be able to find one another? How? Or there is a large fire, your kids are across town at a friends house spending the night, you are at home and your wife is visiting friends 2 hours away? The cell towers in your area just burned, ditto the phone lines, assuming you still have a plug in the wall phone :) .

 Don't get the alchohol out yet, there is a way to deal with this and remain sober, I promise.

This is where an emergency plan would come in handy. Everyone would know where to meet if they could not communicate, who everyone could contact to get updates and see who checked in, etc.

Here is a simple 2 page fill in the blank plan that I like. I would skip putting in social security numbers since when a disaster hits, scam's come out of the woodwork to take advantage of people who are emotional, not thinking clearly, and looking to get their hands on all the disaster aid money they can. Keep important documents like social security cards, drivers licenses, bank statements and passports in a separate spot that you will keep on your person at all times, if it locks well that would be a plus.(See this post for Grab and Go Kit ideas)

Another thing I would add to the emergency plan is a list of family members doctors names and contact info and medications they are on. Call your children's school district or the school it's self and see what type of evacuation plan they have, where they are taking everyone and how they will try to contact you. If you have children that attend school at different locations, be sure of what each location is doing, it may not be the same. Also, plan alternate routes on how to get to and from the evacuation site.

Keep it short, don't get hung up in too much detail. Your family members are going to be just as emotional as you are. The last thing anyone will need is to dig through 10 pages of stuff to find out where the school is taking the kids to if they have to evacuate.

Make sure everyone knows the plan and carries with them  a small card or piece of paper with the phone numbers, meeting places, and one or two alternates if the first meeting place is not accessible.

Don't have  family members nearby? Get a group of friends, coworkers, club members, or neighbors together.