Do you know what your family would do in an emergency?
You may not be together when disaster strikes so it's important that everyone create a family communications plan, in advance, so you'll know how to contact one another.
Here are some steps to help get you started:
Develop a communications plan
- Things to consider:
- How will you contact one another?
- How will you let family know that you're somewhere safe?
- Identify someone to alert in the event that a pet is at home alone while your away
- Understand that certain communication networks may not be available during a disaster (IE: electrical lines may be down; cellphones and computers may not be fully charged).
- Create a phone tree or text message group with immediate family members
- Have everyone in the family sign up for emergency alerts in your area
Document contact information
- Collect phone numbers and emails for out-of-town relatives, doctors, vets, schools and employers
- Identify the addresses and phone numbers of area shelters, hotels and other safe locations
- Make sure all family members have copies of contact information
Plan an evacuation route
- Chose two places to meet:
- Right outside of your home, in case of a sudden emergency, such as a fire. It's best to know two ways out of your home.
- A common meeting place outside of your neighborhood, such as a library or community center
- Identify the routes to leave your area in the event of an evacuation
- Call hotels along your route to determine if they are pet-friendly
- Consider those with disabilities and make sure meeting places are accessible for all
Practice your plan
- Safely play out scenarios, just like you would a fire drill
- Identify a household leader who can make last-minute decisions
- Make sure everyone, including children, understands how to call 9-1-1 and what situations warrant a 9-1-1 call (life-threatening emergencies only)
- Update and adjust your plan as necessary
For resources to help create a Family Disaster Preparedness Plan:
For resources to help create a Caregiver Disaster Plan: