National Preparedness Month - Prepare Your Family


When disasters strike without warning, you risk the chance of your family not being together during the time of impact. Many questions may run through your head—How will you get in touch with each other? Are your children at school with faculty prepared to act, or home alone? Where will you meet?

 It’s important to plan now, so that all parties will know how to react, how to find each other and how to communicate in an emergency. The following strategies will ensure your family is prepared, together or apart.

Communication
  •  Help your kids with communication during an emergency. It’s important to review these topics with them: Sending text messages, delegating emergency contact numbers and dialing 9-1-1 for help when necessary.
  • Pick the same person for each family member to contact. If possible, text, don’t talk. In an emergency, phone lines may be tied up. It may be easier to text, and this leaves phone lines open for emergency workers.
  • Update school records and discuss emergency contact numbers with kids before they go. Have emergency contact numbers easily accessible while they are home.

Location
  • Decide on a safe, familiar, accessible place where your family can go for protection or to reunite.
  • Ask your child’s teacher about the plans the school has in place for emergencies.
  • Make sure your family knows what to do in case of a natural disaster while they’re home alone.

Practice
  • Create a list of contacts and plans. Make sure everyone in the family has copies and keeps them in a safe space—like in a backpack, wallet or taped in a notebook. Put them in your cell phone if you have one. Hold regular household meetings to review and practice your plan.
  • Have fire drills and drills for possible other disasters where you live. If you have young children, try making it a game—they will be less scared and more willing to practice regularly.
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