Emergencies often strike without warning. By the time a flood, fire, earthquake or tornado is upon you, it’s too late to devise a plan. That’s why you need to sit down with your loved ones and create a family disaster plan today. Decide how everyone will get in touch, where you’ll meet and what you’ll do in an emergency. This will offer priceless peace of mind if you ever need to put your disaster plan to use.

Collect Information

Because the Internet and electricity may go down during a disaster, it’s important to put useful disaster information in writing. Include the following with your emergency kit:

  • Phone numbers, email addresses, birthdays, Social Security numbers and medical information for all family members
  • Name, phone number and address of a trusted out-of-state contact
  • Phone numbers for the fire department, emergency shelter, gas and electrical utilities, doctors, veterinarians, insurance companies, and a disaster recovery company (you can reach DKI Services at 877-533-0210)
  • Family meeting places for when disaster strikes
    • Include a place within the house for protection from hurricanes and tornadoes, somewhere familiar in the neighborhood, a place in town such as your library or church, and an out-of-town spot in case a citywide evacuation takes place
  • Site-specific emergency plan information for your workplace and your child’s school or daycare provider, including phone numbers, escape routes and evacuation locations
  • Where to take your pets in case you must go to a public shelter where animals aren’t permitted

Share the Information

To make sure everyone in your family has access to the emergency information you’ve gathered, do the following:

  • Enter all emergency contact information into each family member’s mobile phone address book. Store one or more numbers under the “In Case of Emergency” (ICE) entry so someone can reach your emergency contacts if needed.
  • Post a copy of your family disaster plan in a central location in your home.
  • Print and fill out family emergency plan cards courtesy of FEMA. Make sure your family members each carry this with them at all times.
  • Sign up for alerts and warnings at gov.

Practice Your Disaster Plan

With your plan complete and everyone in the know, it’s time to practice. Here’s how:

  • Text short messages to one another as you would in an emergency. Remember, texting is often the best way to communicate during a disaster when phone lines may be jammed.
  • Hold fire drills and practice meeting at a designated place outside your house.
  • Meet at the indoor and neighborhood emergency meeting spots as a family. While there, discuss two or more options for everyone to reach the out-of-neighborhood and out-of-town meeting places.
  • Review and update your family disaster plan at least once a year.

Get more information about creating a family disaster plan from FEMA. Then, if an emergency strikes your area, put your plan to good use! Knowing your family is safe will help give you peace of mind while DKI Services restores your property so you can return back to normal.