When a disaster strikes,
having a family disaster plan in place beforehand can ensure you and your
family members' safety.
Here are four steps to follow when your family creates their plan:
1. Find Out What
Could Happen to You
Contact your local Red Cross chapter or homeland security office before a disaster and ask what
of disasters are most likely to
happen (In Wyoming, the most common disaster is
flooding.) and ask for information on how to
prepare for each.
your community's warning signals:
what do they sound like? What you should do when
you hear them?
Ask about animal
care after a disaster;
remember, animals are not allowed inside emergency
shelters because of health regulations. If your family
evacuates to a shelter, you'll need to have a place
for your animals to go.
Find out about
the disaster plans at your parents'
workplace, your school or day care center, and other
places where your family spends time.
2. Create a Disaster
Meet with your family and talk about why
you need to prepare for disaster.
Ask your parents
to explain the dangers of fire,
severe weather and earthquakes.
Plan to share responsibilities with your family
members and work together as a team.
Talk about the
types of disasters most likely to happen and explain what to do in each case.
Pick two places
to meet: one right outside
your home (in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire) and one 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 reach someone out of the area. Texting may work where a phone call won't. Other family members should contact this
person after a disaster and tell them where they are.
Talk about what
to do in an evacuation.
3. Complete A
"Home Hazard Hunt"
In a disaster, ordinary
items in the home can cause
injury and damage. Anything that can move, fall, break
or cause a fire is a potential hazard.
4. Practice and
Maintain Your Plan
Have a "family quiz night" every six months to review everything in your plan.
Replace stored water and stored food in your
family disaster kit every six months.
Test smoke detectors
monthly and change
the batteries at least once a year.
Meet with your
neighbors to plan how the
neighborhood could work together after a disaster
until help arrives.
Find out your
neighbors' special skills (e.g., medical,
technical) and consider how you could help neighbors
who have special needs, such as disabled
and elderly persons.