Be Prepared: Family Disaster Plan Checklist

None of us want to experience a natural disaster. Yet the news we watch and read continues to shock and scare us:

  • Hurricane Sandy Shocks New York City and New Jersey
  • Tornado Devastates Moore, Oklahoma
  • Forest Fires Level California Neighborhoods
  • Blizzard Strands Dozens in Western States
  • Flooding Forces Chicago Families From their Homes

When Mother Nature hits, there’s nothing we can do, right?

WRONG: We cannot prevent or even control natural disasters, but you can protect your family and safeguard your home by planning ahead. This Family Disaster Plan Checklist will help you plan to safeguard your family if a disaster strikes.

 

Family Disaster Plan Checklist (download here)

I. Insurance:Review your home and personal property insurance coverage with a reputable insurance agent:

  1. make sure your insurance is up to date, and covers replacement value and not purchase value of your home and personal property including cars
  2. more homeowners are now buying flood insurance
  3. make a list of your insurance carriers, agents, phone numbers and email addresses: and store it on your phone, email it to yourself,
  4. renters: investigate provisions for temporary housing and replacement value of property that are not standard coverage in many renter insurance policies

II. Family Contact Sheet:Create and distribute a family contact sheet that lists :

  1. family member names and their cell phone number
  2. family member ages, current photos, and descriptions
  3. social security numbers and health insurance numbers
  4. pet information including tags, vet, and
  5. emergency contact information of relatives and close friends

You can create your own Family Contact Sheet, or use the FEMA Family Emergency Plan.

Distribute your Family Contact Sheet:

  • Email a copy your Family Contact Sheet to close family and friends and to yourself: save a copy on your cell phone and in your ICE contacts list.
    • If your cell phone is lost in an emergency, you can retrieve your old emails.
    • Most smartphones have an ICE app: In Case of Emergency. Save this ICE app to your smartphone home page and save your ICE information in your Contacts
  • Make sure all family members also save the Family Contact Sheet in their smart phone and emails

III. Disaster Kit: Many disasters don’t demand that you leave your home: but often natural disasters result in a loss of electricity, phone and gas services. Prepare a disaster kit that will allow you to safely remain in your home and provide your family with basic necessities. Your Disaster Kit should include:

  1. Food and water: store a 3 day supply of water and nutritious, non-perishable food that does not require cooking or other preparation including:
  • Peanut butter, dried fruit, crackers, canned goods (vegetables and tuna, and chicken), shelf cheeses, dried packaged sausages, nuts, cereals, powdered milk, power and granola bars, condiments and vitamins
  • Bottled water and power drinks
    • If you have notice of an impending storm fill your bathtub with water for drinking: this will last several days, and can also be used for bathing and flushing the toilet
  • If your family includes pets be sure to have food and water available for your pet in your Disaster Kit
  • Coolers and Ice Chest: have a large cooler and smaller ice chests filled with ice and ice packs to store perishables

2. Batteries, solar chargers, and battery operated appliances, candles and matches: a supply of battery-operated appliances such as

  • Flashlights: minimum of one for each family member
    • Radio and TVs: many battery operated TVs carry local programming even when cable is down
  • Computers and game players
    • If you have notice of an impending storm plug-in and recharge all your portable electronics including old laptops and games so the family has entertainment and a potential source of critical information during a disaster
  • Solar phone chargers can keep your family in touch when   electricity and regular phone service are down
  1. First Aid Kit: basic supplies to treat and protect your family. You can buy a ready-make first aid kit or construct your own including:

IV. Print Community Emergency Plan and Resources: Your community has designated emergency shelters, treatment locations, information resources and procedures. Find out your communities list of emergency centers, contact information, and resources

  1. review your community’s emergency plan with each family member
  2. print your community emergency plan and keep it in your Disaster Kit

V. Activities: Many natural disasters do not result in injuries or loss of safety; frequently natural disasters result in a temporary loss of services such as electricity, cable, or phone services. Planning family activities can help minimize frustration, boredom and stress particularly when children are in your home.

  1. board games, books, cards, and magazines
  2. game books such as crossword puzzles, Sudoku, or word search
  3. electronic games you charged in preparation of the storm
  4. eBooks
  5. DVDs and movies
  •    CAUTION: do not use computers for movies and game playing if they will be needed for emergency use during the disaster
  1. a.  shelter if your home is damaged

VI. Pets:Pet family members are dependent on you during an emergency. Preparations you can take to protect your pet include:

  1. contact information on your pets tag and collar
  2. current shots and
  3. list your pet on your Family Contact Sheet

VII. Cars:Cars can be a vital resource even when not used for transportation:

  1. Gas: fill your car with gas if a storm is expected: a good practice is to never let your car gas tank be below ¼.
  2. Cars can be used as:
  • shelter if your home is damaged
  • storage for personal and emergency items
  • charge source for cell phones
  • car radios can be your information source

VIII. Gas or Charcoal Grill:Hurricanes and tornadoes can leave neighborhoods without electricity for days. A grill can become a vital way to cook foods before they spoil, and make that essential cup of morning coffee!

  1. grill and eat frozen foods before they spoil
  2. share your grill with neighbors: a neighborhood grill can be a good way for everyone to come together during a storm
  3. charcoal grills can also burn paper and wood as fuel
  4. use caution and common sense when using a grill during an emergency

IX. Communicate: A Disaster Plan is a necessity: but it’s useless if no one but you knows about it. Share your disaster plan with:

  1.  all family members
  2.  family and friends who you listed as your ICE

X. Update Annually: your family Disaster Plan must be reviewed and updated annually so that your family always has current information and records in the event of an emergency

 

For more information, tips and resources on making a Disaster Plan for your family see Ready by FEMA.

Let’s make this a safe summer!

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