It is important that any and all emergency plans that you have in place, the whole family understands and agrees to. These plans are what are going to keep you safe when the unexpected happens. In order to do this, you can’t just write up a plan and present it to your family expecting for them to immediately agree to everything, it doesn’t work like that. Your family (every member, including children) need to be a part of making the plan from start to end.
You need to:
- Gather the family for a meeting
- Discuss the most likely emergencies
- Talk about what is the best way to prepare and respond to various emergencies. Listen to the opinions of every member as some may think of things that you hadn’t thought of
- Assign tasks to every family member and explain how you can all work together during an emergency
As an example, here in the UK, one of our biggest natural disasters is flooding. Who will be involved with moving furniture to higher ground? Who will be turning off the power and when? Who’s responsible for making sure everyone is accounted for? Etc. These are all questions that need addressing ahead of time.
Another aspect of your emergency plan that needs to be thought about and understood is what everyone is supposed to do if you get separated. Ideally you should have two meeting places agreed upon. The first should be near the home but if it is not possible to meet there, you will need a second meeting place further away in case of evacuation.
Next, you need to think about emergency contacts and these should be saved in the phone of every family member as well as being printed out, laminated, and placed into your emergency kits. When storing the numbers in your phone, include “ICE” by the emergency contacts names. This stands for “in case of emergency” and emergency responders are trained to look out for this on mobile phones.
To take your planning one step further, think about your evacuation procedure. How are you going to get to the meeting place? What routes are you to take? Plan B route in case the first isn’t possible? Once you have your plan in place, the only thing left is to practice with your family but when doing so, treat it like it is the real thing. No messing around, no joking, and once done, where can improvements be made?
There are many great books and websites out there that are packed with information that can help you towards keeping your family safe so start studying now before it is too late. The biggest deciding factor between whether you live or die is down to whether you can keep your emotions in check and studying now can help you to do just that when a real emergency situation occurs.