Family preparedness plan
Habitat Ready: Disaster preparedness for homeowners
Disasters can strike at any moment, with little notice.
In order to protect your home and family, it is important to be prepared and have a plan in place. The family preparedness plan contains four steps that families should take to be ready for any disaster.
- Identify what types of disasters are most likely to happen in your area, and learn about how to prepare for each (See Disaster Preparedness Series: Disaster Information).
- Learn about your community’s warning system and signals (sirens, text messages, etc.).
- Consider purchasing a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio. This radio broadcasts official warnings, watches, advisories, forecasts and other hazards 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Identify local organizations that perform emergency management (Red Cross/Red Crescent, nonprofits, etc.) and know how to contact them.
- Educate yourself on any disaster plans in place at your workplace, children’s school or other places you and your family spend time.
Hold a family meeting
- Meet with your family to discuss why it is important to be prepared.
- Review the types of disasters that are most likely to occur, and explain what to do in each situation.
- Assign responsibilities to each family member, and plan to work together as a team.
- Decide on locations where you will meet in case a disaster strikes:
- Outside your home and neighborhood in case of a sudden emergency, such as an earthquake or fire.
- Outside your city in case you cannot return home.
- Discuss what to do in an evacuation and create a family evacuation plan.
- If a family member is in the military or frequently away from home, plan how you will respond if he or she is away when a disaster strikes.
- Document how your family will communicate if a disaster strikes, and create a family communications plan.
- If anyone in your family has a disability or special needs, adjust your plan accordingly.
- Be sure to include your family pets in your plan.
- Assemble a disaster supply kit.
- Locate safe places in your home for each type of disaster.
- Determine the best evacuation routes from your home.
- Become trained in first aid and CPR.
- Show each family member how and where to shut off utilities (water, gas, electricity).
- Make a complete inventory of your home and property.
- Teach each family member how to use a fire extinguisher and where to find one.
- Post emergency contacts (friends, family, neighbors, police, fire, etc.) on the refrigerator.
Practice your plan
- Practice your plan with your family on a regular basis (every six months).
- Check your disaster supply kit every three months.
- Replace stored water and food every three months.
- Update any emergency contact info as changes occur.