Make a Family Plan

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 types 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.
Neighborhood drawing
  • Learn about 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 Plan

  • 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.