Emergency Preparation: Making Your Emergency Plan

At the center of any type of emergency preparation is an Emergency Plan. It is an important document that defines all of the things you or your family will need, and tasks that will need to be performed, if a disaster visits your area.

Businesses, non-profit organizations, schools and local, county and state governments all have emergency plans. Your family should, as well.

An Emergency Plan can include any number of items, and can be very specific if you’re planning for a certain type of disaster, or general if planning for any type of emergency event. Some people create multiple plans for the many different types of disasters that might occur. You will have to decide what will work best for you.

Every plan should include some basics, though. You’ll want to create a list of emergency supplies that you should have on hand. This list should include things like emergency food such as HeaterMeals or MREs, water, a first-aid kit, prescription drugs, clothing, flashlights, and batteries.

Everyone in your family should know what to do in an emergency, as well. You can make emergency response cards for them that detail whom they should call and where they should meet other family members if there is a disaster. If you have older children, they can also help with some of the tasks that will need to be done. Assigning these in advance, and discussing them, will help make things go smoother when a disaster occurs.

Your plan can also include a safe location. This is a place that you and your family can go to in case a disaster happens near you. You should also include the best escape routes to that location, and also include an alternate route just in case your primary one is blocked.

Ready.gov has information on emergency planning, including a printable Family Emergency Plan form. Their form will get you started, getting on paper some basic information for your plan. You will need to get more detailed, though, to be fully prepared.

The City of San Francisco has created a detailed website with an abundance of information. 72hours.org breaks down what you should do in certain disasters, and details preparation plans for each. This site is a great resource for those planning for emergencies.

What you include in your emergency plan is up to you. You can always go back and add to it as you learn more. But take the first step and begin planning today. Your safety, and that of your family is what you are safeguarding when you plan for emergencies.

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