Preparing your family

Some disasters strike without any warning, and family members may not all be in the same place.

How will you get in touch with each other? Where will you meet? What if your neighborhood is being evacuated?

It’s important to make a plan now so that you will know what to do, how to nd each other, and how to communicate in an emergency.

  • Pick the same person for each family member to call or email. It might be easier to reach someone who’s out of town.
  • Text, don’t talk, unless it’s an emergency. It may be easier to send a text. You don’t want to tie up phone lines for emergency workers.
  • Keep your family’s contact info and meeting spot location in your backpack, wallet, or taped inside your school notebook. Put it in your cell phone if you have one.

    Family communication tips

    Identify a contact such as a friend or relative who lives out-of-state for household members to notify they are safe. It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members.

    Be sure every member of your family knows the phone number and has a cell phone or a prepaid phone card to call the emergency contact. If you have a cell phone, program that person(s) as “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) in your phone. If you are in an accident, emergency personnel will often check your ICE listings in order to get hold of someone you know. Make sure to tell your family and friends that you’ve listed them as emergency contacts.

    Teach family members how to use text messaging. Text messages can often get around network disruptions when a phone call might not be able to get through.

    Remember, the first and most important thing to do when facing hazardous weather conditions is to use common sense. Please get together with your family today so that you can prepare a plan for disaster.

    Here’s how to prepare:

  • Discuss the type of hazards that could affect your family. Know your home’s vulnerability to storm dangers.
  • Decide your evacuation route and destination. Plan to go to family or friends who live in safer areas. Use county evacuation shelters only as a last resort.
  • Outline an alternate plan in case your friends are out of town, your evacuation route is flooded or other unforeseen circumstances arise.
  • Select an out-of-state relative as a family contact, so all your family members have a single point of contact.
  • Plan what you will do with your pets if you need to evacuate.
  • Review your homeowners and flood insurance policies and keep them with you in a secure, waterproof place.
  • Register individuals with special needs with your county’s Emergency Management Office.
  • Make a list of prescription medicines that you will need to refill and take with you.
  • Stock non-perishable emergency supplies and food. Also prepare a disaster supply kit.
  • Take all necessary precautions to protect your vehicles, boats and windows.

Prepare your valuables

  • Keep all photos and videos in one location.
  • Scan all important documents and photos.
  • Back up all computers/files to a storage outside your home.
  • Remove all framed photos from your walls.
  • Place all valuables in waterproof container keep with your evacuation kit.
  • Take a photo/video inventory of the inside of your home.