Be proactive! Every family should have a Family Disaster Plan. A disaster plan can help save the lives of your family in the event of an emergency such as a hurricane or flood. It also can help your children cope with fears and worries they might have about safety or getting separated during the disaster.
To create a Family Disaster Plan you need information about disasters that may occur in your area. Contact your local emergency management office or FEMA at www.fema.gov. Then hold a family meeting and develop your plan. In the event of a disaster, everyone in your family should know:
Establish two family meeting places in the event of a disaster. One meeting place should be outside your home. The other meeting place can be outside your neighborhood in case you cannot get back home when a disaster happens.
In the event of evacuation, identify your evacuation routes and places where your family can go. Also, select an out-of-state relative or family friend as a point of contact for your family in case you get separated. Make sure each family member knows two ways to contact that person (phone numbers, address).
Be sure to think about family members who may have special needs when you develop the plan. Someone may need a cane for walking or a wheelchair. For others, eyeglasses may be essential. In some cases, special medical equipment or medicines are important to remember in planning. If you have pets, plan for their safety as well. Remember, if you have to evacuate to a public shelter, you may not be able to bring your pets.
Family members may not always be together when disaster strikes, but families can get back together if they have a plan and it is followed.
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