Make a Plan

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 distaster (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