Update your Family Disaster Plan
Imagine being off the mountain
when the next major earthquake strikes or another wildfire breaks
out. Imagine not being able to communicate with your family by land
line, cell phone, or Internet and not being able to get home for
several days. Mountain people know that there is more to preparing
for a major disaster than making a supply kit. An equally important
element of preparedness is the family disaster plan. Think of this
as your communication plan.
Refer to the
following excellent websites for detailed advice and ideas about
creating your family disaster plan:
Create and discuss your plan with your loved ones.
Talk through the possible hazards we face: earthquake, wildfire,
etc. Keep it age-appropriate for the younger ones.
Call the people you want to
include in your plan.
Ask them if they would be willing to help out, when needed, if they
are able. Be sure to include local neighbors, relatives, and
friends, as well as two agreed-upon out-of-state contacts. You may
need to call on someone locally to check on your pets, or give you
information on your home, road, or area. If local phone service is
down or jammed, long-distance phone service may still be working.
Those predetermined long-distance contacts can act as a relay
system, helping you pass on information about your health and
well-being after a big event.
Write down the plan.
Imagine counting on someone else
to help you, your home, your pets, or your loved ones, who may be in
need of medical care. This is when details matter the most. You will
need lists and a written plan.
Your names, home and business
addresses, phone numbers (home, cell, work), and email addresses.
Names, addresses, phone numbers
(home, cell, work), and email addresses of the local people you can
call on, as well as two out-of-state contacts.
Names and ages of your children,
their cell-phone numbers, email addresses, and the addresses and
phone numbers of the schools they attend.
Medical and dental insurance
information. Names, addresses, and phone numbers of your doctors,
dentists, and preferred hospitals.
Plan for your pets. Think through their food and water needs. Keep
their vaccination records, leashes, and carriers handy. Try to
prearrange possible animal shelters for them.
Ask your school, workplace, and daycare about their disaster plan.
Incorporate this information into your family disaster plan. Use the
same information on your family disaster plan when you fill out your
child’s school emergency card.
Pick two places to meet: one
safe, open spot right outside your home; and a meeting place outside
your neighborhood in case you cannot return home, perhaps the home
of a friend in town. You might add a place on each side of the hill.
This will help make family reunification easier.
Think through your evacuation
planning. It is better to have done this in advance, in a calm
atmosphere, than in the middle of the night when fire threatens and
you only have minutes to act. Plan two or more escape routes out of
Practice fire and evacuation drills with your family.
Physically practice the act of
getting out in the dark and loading up your most important
documents, valuables, supplies, people, and pets. This will help you
make needed adjustments to your plan. Done in the right spirit,
children can help and feel confident that their grown-ups have a
plan. Knowledge, preparation, and skills can be empowering.
copies of the plan and distribute copies to everyone involved.
Your plan is useless if it is stuck in your computer and no one has
access to it. Print out your plan and make paper copies. Give a copy
to your out-of-state and local contacts. Ask them to keep it with
their own disaster supply kits. Keep a copy in all your vehicles
(along with your mini-disaster supply kit) and another one in your
home-disaster supply kit. Make a few extra copies so you can leave a
copy with your children when they are away on a play date,
sleepover, or with a babysitter.
Back-to-school is the perfect
time to think through and update your plan. Take a weekend before
the busy school year starts to think these things through with your
family. You and your loved ones will take great comfort knowing you
have a plan.
Next month, Summit CERT will
announce details about our next round of Community Emergency
Response Team training. Remember, you do not have to join the team
to take the classes. Our goal is to help create a culture of
preparedness on the mountain. Be sure to bookmark our preparedness