Family Disaster Plan

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Your family needs a plan that tells everyone:

  • where to meet if you have to evacuate
  • who you’ve identified as an out-of-state “family contact”
  • how to get emergency information in your community
  • how to take care of your family pets

Meet with your family and discuss why you need to prepare for disaster.  Explain the dangers of fire, severe weather, and earthquakes to children. Plan to share responsibilities and work together as a team. Discuss the types of disasters that are most likely to happen.  Explain what to do in each case.

Pick two places to meet: 

  • Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire.
  • Outside your neighborhood in case you can’t return home.  Everyone must know the address and phone number.

Ask an out-of-state friend to be your “family contact.”  After a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance. Other family members should call this person and tell them where they are. Everyone must know your contact’s phone number.

Find out how to get important information in your community and how to talk to family members should you become separated.  To be fully informed:

  • Know what your area’s emergency alerting radio station is. Make sure to have a portable radio with extra batteries so your family has access to important information about emergency response efforts in your community.
  • Keep a touch-tone phone that does not require plugging into an electric outlet.  Include the proper cord that can plug the phone into a home phone jack. After a disaster, cell phones and wireless phones may not be working. If you are able, use your touch-tone phone to call your out-of-town family contact. Try to be brief and to the point when contacting family members or your out-of-state contact. Phone lines are valuable communications channels for emergency response teams.
  • Do not call 911 unless you have a real emergency. Dispatchers will be very busy.
  • If you are in your car, find a safe place to pull over and stay in your car. Turn on the car radio to gain important information about where to go and what to do.

Discuss what to do in an evacuation.

  • Shelter And Medical Care: After a disaster, emergency shelters and temporary medical centers will be set up in your community.  Contact your local Office of Emergency Services or county Social Services to find out the plans for your area.
  • Community Plans: Know your neighbors and their skills.  You may be able to help each other after a disaster.  Also know where to go to help your community after a disaster.  It may be days before outside emergency assistance arrives. It is important to help each other.

Plan how to take care of your pets. If you are evacuated, PETS will not be allowed at the emergency shelter.  Here in Amador County, Animal Control will make every effort to establish an animal shelter in close proximity to the human shelters.

Make special provisions for elderly, disabled, or persons under medication.  These people may have difficulty moving around after an earthquake.  Plan to have someone help them to evacuate if necessary.  Also, they may need special foods or medication.  Be sure to store several days’ supply of these special provisions.

Prepare your home

  • Learn how to shut off gas, water, and electricity in an emergency
  • Check chimneys, roofs and wall foundations for stability
  • Learn how to make your home secure in the event of an earthquake

Complete this checklist

  • Post emergency telephone numbers by phones (fire, police, ambulance, etc.).
  • Teach children how and when to call 911.
  • Show each family member how and when to turn off the water, gas and electricity at the main switches.
  • Check if you have adequate insurance coverage.
  • Teach each family member how to use the fire extinguisher (ABC type), and show them where it's kept.
  • Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms.
  • Conduct a home hazard hunt.
  • Stock emergency supplies and assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit.
  • Take a Red Cross first aid and CPR class.
  • Determine the best escape routes from your home. Find two ways out of each room.
  • Find the safe spots in your home for each type of disaster.

Practice your plan

  • After you have sat down with your family and written your plan — practice it.
  • Start by having family members meet at a designated spot outside your home — like you would after a fire or after the shaking stops.
  • Know how to respond in the event of any disaster — whether to stay put indoors, or whether to evacuate your neighborhood by car.
  • If your family needs to evacuate, know the proper evacuation procedures and routes as determined by your local OES office. Drive these routes so you are familiar with them.
  • Quiz your kids every six months so they remember what to do.
  • Conduct fire and emergency evacuation drills.
  • Replace stored water every three months and stored food every six months.
  • Test and recharge your fire extinguisher(s) according to manufacturer's instructions.
  • Test your smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries twice a year.

Information provided by FEMA and the American Red Cross