Sep 06, 2016

Your best tool in an emergency? A solid plan

Make your plan. Don't wait. Communicate.
Source: FEMA News Photo

Emergencies can surface quickly, so being prepared for the unexpected is always good advice.

Do you know what your first steps would be in an emergency? Does your family know what to do in a disaster?

If not, you’re not alone. According to a 2012 FEMA survey, more than 60 percent of respondents reported not having a family emergency plan.

September is National Preparedness Month and the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security urge everyone to develop plans for emergencies most likely to affect where they live. That can include earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes and more.

Making a family communication plan is just one thing you and your family can do to be ready.

Here are some tips to get you started:


If your family is separated when disaster strikes, how will you contact each other?

  • Make a contact card for each person, and keep them in an accessible location – a purse, wallet or backpack. On these cards, identify a family member or friend who lives out of state whom your family members could contact to let them know they’re safe.
  • Subscribe to alert services in your community so that you get texts or emails regarding bad weather or local emergencies.

Make a plan

  • Visit for tips on customizing an emergency plan for your family, taking into consideration infants and children, senior members of your household, pets and those with disabilities.
  • Review your work plan, and check in with your children’s school or daycare to learn what their course of action would be.
  • Establish a meeting place where your loved ones will go to regroup, if they’re separated.

Stock your emergency kit

  • Prepare a properly stocked emergency kit for your home. Keep in mind that you should plan for enough supplies to last 72 hours.
  • Keep all your supplies, and copies of your important documents, in a bag or container that’s easily accessible and easy to carry, should you have to evacuate. Store it in a cool, dry place.
  • Revisit your plan as your family changes. Open your kit every once in a while to see if anything needs to be replaced or other items need to be added.

Visit for more information and templates to create your family emergency plan.