The first part of preparing for any emergency is making a plan. Here are some things to think about.
- Who can you call outside the disaster area to coordinate messages?
- Does your entire family know where to meet if you have to leave the house quickly?
- If you cannot get into your neighborhood, where will family members meet up?
- If the main meeting place is not available, where is the next place you will try to meet?
- Have you prepared for pets, children, other family members with special needs?
- Do you have copies of your financial records, so you can get access to your accounts even if your home is destroyed?
- Do you know all of the ways into and out of your neighborhood?
Your plan should start out very basic. Use a common form like the one below, from the American Red Cross, and start filling it out today.
Make copies of the plan and
- Give it to every member of your family.
- Put a copy in every car, and every go-bag and first-aid kit.
- Give a copy to your out-of-area contacts.
- Give a copy to your "evacuation buddy," a neighbor who can help evacuate your home in case you are away.
Doing this much will make your life vastly easier to keep running smoothly, should disaster strike.
And then think about doing some more specific planning for things like...
- Your children.
- Your pets.
- Your financial affairs.
Here is a great PDF from American Red Cross that you can download and fill out on your computer, then print as many copies as you need. Remember to keep your plan up to date!
Get the PDF...
This simple form helps you make a list of things to take if you have to evacuate. If you don't have a list, you might pack a lot of strange things, and miss some important things.
Get the PDF...