Family Disaster PlanningAlthough September is National Disaster Preparedness Month, we suggest you consider making a year round commitment by having an updated plan for the protection of you and your loved ones. Having a plan, no matter how simple, can save lives, free up EMS resources, save money by preventing property damage, and protect us from personal and financial ruin.

The fact is yesterday’s disaster plans have quickly been outdated and today’s family disaster plan is more than just some bottled water and flashlights kept in the basement. Is it time to revamp or start your plan? Consider the following three areas to get you started:

Safety

  • Map out and practice evacuation and storm warning drills for both inside and outside the home.
  • Rehearse the most likely scenarios which might occur (Fire, Flood, Tornado, Power Outage)
  • Train all able household members how to safely turn off utilities including natural gas, water and electricity, use fire extinguishers and become trained in CPR / First Aid.
  • Keep back up supply and list / copy of all vital prescription medication and allergy information on all family members.
  • Make use of technology/Apps to keep up Family Plan Updated with info from FEMA and the American Red Cross.

Communication

  • Update all family members contacts with accurate phone #’s, emails, and status for text messaging and social media. This should include both local and Out of Town relatives and friends.
  • All family members should a priority list of “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) contacts stored in their phones and taped to kitchen fridge. Share and exchange ICE info with 3 to 4 neighbors.
  • Sign up for weather alerts and messaging for all mobile devices for you and your family.
  • Set up a Disaster Plan protocol with family members and friends in how to deal with parents, kids away and pets.
  • Establish a meeting spot family can meet when disaster strikes and little or no communication is available.
  • Consider use of two-way radios for back ER communication for seniors living alone or in rural areas.

Financial

  • Keep all important papers (Life Insurance, Wills, Marriage License, Birth Certificates, Deeds, etc.) in fire proof safe in a protected area of the home and be sure to share location with other family members.
  • Share all bill pay, financial account username/password information with spouse, significant other or POA in order to minimize impact to credit or financial standing
  • Keep ER fund available (Cash & Travelers Checks) and budget an amount for your family to stay away for one to three weeks.
  • Understand what documentation is required to apply and receive federal disaster assistance if you are involved in an impact area where funds are made available.

Remember, all disasters are local. Preparing today by taking a few simple steps can make a world of difference if and when disaster strikes you or your family. Every family is different, so not plans will be the same. Hopefully, it is a plan that you will have prepared for and not ever have to use….