When most people think about emergency preparedness, they imagine a stockpile of food and supplies to be used in the case of an emergency. While having a supply of food and other essential items is very important during emergencies, it may not be sufficient. In addition to having the physical preparations taken care of, families should also take care to prepare in other ways.
When a disaster or some other emergency situation arises, there is no guarantee that the family will already be gathered in one place. While sometimes a family may have a day or two of warning before needing to evacuate, other emergencies require immediate evacuation and families will have no time to plan. It is also impossible to predict whether electricity, phone lines, or gas stations will be operating. In a situation like this, family members can end up separated from each other and unable to get in contact with one another. Fortunately, this situation can be easily avoided if families take the time to prepare an evacuation plan, a meeting place, and ways to communicate.
The best way to plan for an emergency as a family is to call for a family meeting or council. Make sure to choose a time when everyone in the family can be there to provide input. There are a number of things that should be covered in this meeting. One important topic should be meeting places. A family should decide on a meeting place that is relatively close and a backup meeting place that is further away in case the first location is within a danger zone. It is also important to outline how family members can reach these locations.
Another important topic to be covered in a family meeting is deciding on an out-of-state contact that each family member can reach. This person can serve as a go-between if family members should be separated. Make sure each family member has the contact information for that individual.
Finally, the family meeting is a good time to consider the means that will be required in order for families to safely evacuate and stay in contact. Gas tanks should always be at least half full if possible. Having a few gallons of gas stored away for each vehicle is also a good idea. Family members should always have a cellphone and charger on hand and some cash for bus fares. Finally, each family member should have emergency numbers and contact information for each family member. Make sure your family’s evacuation and communication plans are in a place where they can be quickly accessed. If you have a grab-and-go emergency kit close to your door, that would be a great place to store this information.
If each member of your family is aware of the plans, they will be prepared to safely flee from an emergency situation and should they become separated, they will be able to be reunited much more easily.