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Creating a Family Disaster Plan

Firefighters explain that it’s best to prepare yourself for disaster so that during a disaster, you can then help loved ones and others effectively. One way of doing this is to create a disaster plan ahead of time with family or close friends.

The following information from the San Francisco Fire Department explains how to talk about disasters with family, why you need to prepare, and shows how to create a disaster plan.

Creating a Disaster Plan

  • Explain the dangers of fire, severe weather, and earthquakes to children. Plan to share responsibilities and work together as a team.
  • Discuss the types of disasters that are most likely to happen. Explain what to do in each case.
  • Make sure everyone knows where to find your disaster supply kit and Go Kits (See: If a Disaster Hit Tomorrow, Would You Be Prepared?) Go Kits are emergency kits you pack in advance so that if an emergency strikes, you just pick up the kid and GO!)
  • Have a flashlight, a pair of shoes, and clothes in a plastic bag under everyone’s bed in case there is an earthquake or other disaster during the night.
  • Determine the best escape routes from your home. Try to identify two escape routes.
  • Pick two places to meet, mark them down in your kits and in your kid’s backpack kits. Ideal places are right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire or outside your neighborhood in case you can’t return home. Everyone must know the address and phone number.
  • Ask an out-of-state friend to be your “family contact.” After a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance. Other family members should call this person and explain where they are. Everyone must know your contact’s phone number. Also, note where payphones in your neighborhood are so you know where to go to call them.
  • Discuss what to do in an evacuation
  • Plan how to take care of your pets
  • Practice your evacuation routes. Duck, Cover, and Hold and Stop, Drop, and Roll drills.
  • Create emergency response cards for each of your family members or close friends
  • Next, find out about the disaster plans at your workplace, your children’s school or daycare center, and other places where your family and close friends spend time
  • Make copies of important documents and inventory valuables. Keep these in a safe deposit box or with someone outside of the immediate area.
  • After a disaster, each person should call the designated contact person to report his/her location and condition. Keep this number in your kits and in your kid’s backpack kit.

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