How to create an emergency plan in 6 easy steps

1. Get your household information squared

Emergencies happen with little or no warning, so it’s essential to have all of your home information easily accessible. That includes insurance documents, birth certificates, passports, and local maps. Put these items inside your emergency kit and save it. Create secondary copies of each document and place them inside your car’s emergency kit. Having two sets of impressions ensures that you are prepared to respond to any emergency, on the road or at home.

2. Know the local hazards

To create an effective emergency plan, you must know the hazards that are likely to affect your family. Is it a tornado, a power outage, a flood? Understanding is important. Because it gives you a specific roadmap and helps you figure out the best way to prepare. Check out our article on how to put together an emergency kit. In it, you will find a detailed outline on how to develop a hazard risk assessment. Use it to determine the most likely disaster scenario your family may face. It is worth mentioning that catastrophic events like a comet or zombie apocalypse are not on the list. In practical emergency kits, our name says it all. We believe in preparing for real life situations that your family may face any day of the week.

For information on how to develop a local hazards list, see our article on:

• How to put together an emergency kit? You will find information on how to develop a hazard risk assessment.

3. Emergency meeting place

Not all family members may be together when an emergency occurs. It is essential to identify designated meeting places. One site could be your home and the second could be a hotel or a friend’s house. Try to have the second emergency meeting place along your evacuation route. This allows each family member to know which path they are taking in case they are separated or their home is destroyed or inaccessible.

It is also important to assume that ALL communications will not work, including cell phones, landlines, and the Internet. When you’re unable to reach a family member during a disaster, your emergency plan acts as a playbook for coordinating each family member’s response. For example, if your son or daughter is at school and an earthquake occurs. Your emergency plan may be to meet at a local hospital or shelter. Similarly, if they can’t communicate during a power outage, your emergency plan might call for the use of radio amateurs.

* See the article on An amateur radio license could save your life

4. Plan for your pets and emergency needs

Just as you would make an emergency survival kit for yourself and your family, you should make one for your pets. You may need to pre-plan for a pet shelter in your evacuation zone or speak to emergency contacts for help. Your pet’s emergency kit should include water, food, blanket, first aid kit, feeder, extra collar and leash, metal stake with leash, can opener, trash bags, and any medications.

5. Emergency contacts

Having all your essential contact information in one place makes it useful when you need to get in touch with a loved one or friend. Create a hard copy and place it inside your emergency kit. This copy, along with your emergency plan and emergency kit, puts your family in the top 10% of Americans who are prepared to respond to any emergency.

6. Put your contacts and emergency plan in your emergency kit

An emergency kit is not just a bag, it is everything. It is your plan, your evacuation route, your food, water, shelter. They are your emergency contacts, your insurance, your money, your emergency evacuation alerts. It’s your rescue. Please don’t underestimate the usefulness of an emergency kit. We like to think of it as a life jacket, you don’t wear it often but when you do it will save your life.

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