National Preparedness Month: Make and practice a family emergency plan


September is National Preparedness Month

Today’s tip: Make and practice a family emergency plan.

Consider the range of potential emergencies and all the places you and your family might be. Some emergencies require different responses than others, but a family communications procedure will be helpful in any case. Knowing how to keep in touch and find one another will help your family stay safe and cope with the confusion and fear that come when emergencies strike.

Make a Plan

Making a plan is simple…just think of the 5 W’s!

Who: Gather input from all members of your family to consider all possibilities and make them more likely to remember important steps when an emergency happens. Choose a contact person, a family member or friend living somewhere else whom you can all contact in the case of an event.

What: Plan for all hazards that could affect your family, considering potential hazards and weather patterns in your region. Think through each possible emergency situation, and determine how your family should respond.

Where: Think about all the places you and your family may be throughout the day, such as home, office, school and in transit. Establish meeting places and discuss situations to use them. When: Because emergencies can happen at any time, make your family emergency plan immediately. Review the plan annually and whenever there are major changes in your family situation, schedule or activities.

Why: Emergencies are unpredictable and scary. By establishing and practicing a family emergency plan, you and your family are more likely to find each other quickly and help one another get through the emergency situation safely and with less worry.

Practice Your Plan

Making an emergency plan is just the first step; you should practice it at least twice a year. Describe to family members a hypothetical event and tell them to follow the family emergency plan. Practice gathering your emergency kit and important documents, communicating with one another and meeting at a designated place. Afterwards, discuss the actions you took and how the plan would change in a different type of emergency.

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