Family Disaster Plan

A family disaster plan prepares your loved ones for emergencies, increases their likelihood of survival, instills confidence, and reduces panic. We recommend that you educate yourself on the major types of disaster that your area faces. Then educate your family and purchase the necessary equipment.

What comes first?
Do you start with buying emergency supplies? Or do you plan out what you need first, so that you get the right equipment? Or do you study so you better understand how to make your plan?

On the Emegency Plan page we refer to a “pre-plan” stage; this is when you get a survival kit, prepare your pantry, educate yourself, and get the right equipment. The idea is that even before you create your disaster plan, you prepare your family for emergency.

However, there will also be a “post-plan” stage when you assess what you have done and then add to it. This step is necessary because your preparations should be based on your plan. But there isn’t really a best order to do these things.

Why? Because it is impossible to time disasters. If you buy a survival kit and the next day a major earthquake hits, you will be somewhat prepared with equipment. But if you had been studying earthquake survival tips instead of getting supplies you would know more about handling the situation. Both knowledge and supplies are important. Ideally you will have both before disaster strikes.

Family Disaster Plan

We recommend the following steps:

  1. Purchase a survival kit based on the size of your household
  2. Purchase a first aid kit based on the size of your household
  3. Review the supply list on our Emergency Supplies page and make appropriate purchases
  4. Stock your pantry with non-perishable food and water
  5. Study our website to learn how to survive emergencies and disasters
  6. Make a priority list of the emergency situations you most likely need to prepare for
  7. Create a Family Disaster Plan based on your priority list
  8. Set up all your telephone contacts
  9. Educate your family on the disaster plan
  10. Make sure you are stocked on the appropriate supplies
  11. Review your plan and modify as necessary at least once a year

What is the Family Disaster Plan?
The family disaster plan is your personal, step-by-step manual, for dealing with emergencies and disasters.

Assess what type of emergencies you are likely to encounter. Think about natural disasters for your area (earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.). Consider your lifestyle (avid backpacker, traveling salesperson, etc.). Use this website to identify potential areas of concern.

Educate yourself on how to handle these various situations. We provide information on surviving and preparing for these events. You may want greater detail and we encourage you to be as informed as possible. Knowledge does translate to survivability.

Many situations can be grouped together. In general, your plan should cover these areas:

  • What you will do if you have to evacuate your house
  • What you will do if you have to evacuate your city/county/state
  • What you will do if you have to seal off your house and remain inside
  • What you will do if your home is destroyed
  • What you will do if you are not at home when it happens

In all these situations you need to think about how you will handle them if your family is not together when it happens. How will you contact one another? You should also consider what roles, if any, your family members will play in your neighborhood or city.

Write out your basic plan for each of these scenarios. Then create an Emergency Contacts list. If appropriate you might distribute copies of your family disaster plan to in-laws and close friends that you can rely on. You will also want to review it with them and help them develop their own strategies.

What happens next?
As mentioned before you now need to assess whether or not you are actually prepared. We highly recommend both survival kits and first aid kits. But we also recommend supplementing them so that they are adequately stocked for your individual needs.

Once you’ve completed your plan, educated yourself and family, and purchased all your supplies, then you are prepared! Review everything at least once a year. Children should be regularly reminded about emergency phone numbers and how to deal with strangers.

Finally, think about how you may influence your extended family and friends to prepare themselves. Learn about your neighbors and identify who knows first aid, CPR, or would be willing to assist in a neighborhood watch. And consider joining your local emergency preparedness group; you are already better prepared than most other citizens.