National Preparedness Month: Making a Family emergency plan
Thursday, 07 September 2017
This is the first in a series of articles about National Preparedness Month submitted by the Fort Leonard Wood Emergency Management Office.
By Troy Carney
Special to GUIDON

One of the most important tools you and your Family can have to protect yourself in possible emergencies is a Family emergency plan.

It is important that you plan ahead as a Family for all types of emergencies and responses. Everyone in the Family should understand what to do, where to go and what to take in the event of an emergency.

Be informed
Find out what disasters are most likely to happen in your area and the history of their occurrence.

Stay informed of any specific instructions or information you may need to know regarding these specific disasters.

Establish an evacuation procedure
Know your installation’s evacuation plan. As a Family, discuss where you will go in the event of an emergency. Discuss where your children will go if they are in school at the time of the emergency, and make sure they understand where you will intend to be.

It may be necessary to have a contingency plan for reaching each other. Consider using text messaging if normal communication options are not available.

Plan how you will evacuate Family members with special needs. Include pets in your Family plan.

Develop a communications procedure
Develop a comprehensive procedure as a Family for communicating in the event that you are separated during an emergency.

Create a sheet or card with all the phone numbers and information every individual in the Family may need, including an in-case-of-emergency name and number. Make sure every member of the Family has a copy of the communications procedure.

Save the ICE information in everyone’s cell phone. Be aware that in the event of an emergency, phone lines and cell phone towers may be out.

It may be necessary to have a contingency plan for reaching each other.


Practice your plan
Set up practice evacuations or shelter-in-place drills for your Family to ensure everyone knows what to do and where to go in the event of an emergency.

Keep your emergency supply kit up to date, replacing water and perishables periodically. Make sure everyone knows where it is and to take it when sheltering or evacuating.

Remember to check your smoke alarms regularly.

Additional information and resources for making a plan can be found online.

Some of those include:

— Federal Emergency Management

Agency at www.fema.gov/

— Family Communication Plan for

Parents and Kids at www.ready.gov/make-a-plan, www.ready.gov/kids/make-a-plan and www.fema.gov/ media-library/assets/documents/34330

— Family Emergency Communication Plan at www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/108887

— American Red Cross at www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family/plan

— Ready Army at www.ready.army.mil

Next week’s article will discuss helping your neighbors and community during an emergency.

(Editor’s note: Carney is an emergency management specialist with the Fort Leonard Wood Emergency Management Office.)                             
Last Updated ( Thursday, 21 September 2017 )