Updated: May 15, 2019
With Hurricane Season just around the corner, you want to make sure you have done everything you can to protect you, your family and your home. A helpful part of hurricane preparedness is establishing an Emergency Family Plan. Communication is a vital part of survival and comfort when disaster strikes, and that will most likely not be the most opportune time for you and your family.
Sit down with your family, loved ones and neighbors and have a discussion following the outline below. Don’t get caught off guard and not know how you’re going to get back in contact with a family member if you’ve become separated or not know where to meet up after the storm to assess any damages and to confirm everyone’s safety. Find answers and solace for situations like this and many more below.
Put together a plan while discussing these 4 questions with your family, friends & household members to start your emergency plan.
What is my family/household communication plan?
Power outages, down phone lines and dead cellphones are all typical inconveniences. If you happen to become disconnected from your family or people close to you, you’ll want to have a backup plan on how to reestablish contact. Establish a place where you can all meet in case you get separated and come up with alternate locations in case the original location is not accessible.
How will I receive emergency warnings and local weather alerts?
Staying up to date during a storm is crucial and will bring you and your family a lot of peace knowing what’s happening outside. Cell phones are reliable but can die, so, purchasing a battery-powered clock-radio or generator might be an option your family can investigate to help alleviate the stress of the situation.
What is my shelter plan?
Being appropriately sheltered is critical in times of disaster. Finding alternate sheltering options are only appropriate when conditions require that you seek protection outside your home, such as in your place of employment or other locations. Seeking shelter outside your home might include staying with friends, relative or seeking commercial lodging or staying in a mass-care facility operated by disaster relief groups. Discuss these options with your family and narrow your options to fit your needs.
What is my evacuation plan?
There’s a wide variety of scenarios that could call for an evacuation. There could be times you have a day or two to prepare, while other situations call for an immediate evacuation. Plan with your family to ensure you can evacuate quickly and safely.
Note specific needs in your household.
As you begin to prepare your plan, take time to tailor it along with your supplies to your specific needs for comfortable daily living and the responsibilities that entails. Discuss your needs and responsibilities with your family and household members and how everyone in your immediate network can assist one another with communication, childcare, business, pets or specific needs like medications or operating medical equipment. Use this time to create your own personal network for individual areas where you may need assistance. Here are a few factors you may want to keep in mind when crafting your Emergency Family Plan:
Responsibilities for assisting or caring for others
Different ages of members inside your household and appropriate accommodations
Dietary and supplemental needs
Medical needs including prescription medications and operational equipment
Mobility access and functional needs including devices and equipment for the disabled
Pets or service animals
Write out your Emergency Family Plan & practice with your family/household.
Once you have had time to discuss your plan with all your household members it’s time to put it on paper. You can write or type it out yourself or print one off and fill it out. This PDF is provided by FEMA and includes much of the information we have covered here and in past articles from our Preparing for Hurricane Season series.
After you have it all down on paper it’s time to practice. Go over your Emergency Family Plan frequently and adjust to accommodate any changes that occur along the way. Being prepared and tackling these storms on all fronts will secure your family’s safety.