Natural disasters can strike at any time, but having an emergency plan in place can help you manage the challenges of the situation better than others. Additionally, if you have kids, it’s important to include them as part of the planning process, as it will make it easier for them to understand what’s happening during unforeseen circumstances. In this article by Sharon Wagner, we’ll explore the step-by-step process for creating a family emergency plan for natural disasters.
Table of Contents
Identify Potential Risks
Conduct research regarding the probable natural disaster risks at your location, which can include hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, etc. Next, review your home to understand if you have proper protective measures in place. For instance, homeowners in earthquake-prone areas reinforce their support beams with steel T-traps.
Invest time in learning about your local warning system or signals (if they have any). During times of disaster, these are often the first sign of warning that should prompt you and your family to implement your emergency plan.
Make a Family Communication Plan
It might be the case that all members of the family are together during a natural disaster. Hence, it is important to create a communication plan which includes the following:
- A designated emergency number to call (one for each person’s phone).
- A list of emergency service numbers that can be contacted in time of need.
- Providing alternate contacts to reach the family member if they cannot be reached by calls.
Notice: Consider using satellite communicators for exceptional situations. You can use something like Garmin Mini for mobility and ease of use.
You can further improve this process by teaming up with your neighbors, as reported by AccuWeather. The more people you can contact during an emergency the better, as it will bring everyone up to speed with the situation, and individuals that can help the fastest can step in to do so.
Practice Your Plan with Kids
Periodically conducting mock emergency drills is a great way to prepare everyone on how to react during a real emergency. This is because during an earthquake or hurricane, every second counts and, if you and your kids are thoroughly prepared for the emergency, it significantly increases the chances of being safe and evacuating on time.
Create an Evacuation Plan
For those that have never been in one, evacuation can be a stressful and challenging situation to deal with. With a host of sudden changes happening all around you, it’s important to remain calm and safely make your way to safety. However, keeping kids calm when everything around them is new and dangerous can be difficult without an evacuation plan. Hence, here are the steps you should follow to create one:
- Store all necessary supplies such as non-perishable food, water bottles, batteries, and a couple of pairs of clothes in an evacuation bag, according to Texas Ready.
- Make a list of all possible roads/waterways you can utilize to evacuate your home and reach the designated safe point.
- Create a chain of command and assign responsibility to each individual. For instance, if there’s a need for evacuation when the kids are home, they should be instructed to promptly pack a bag with required belongings – clothes, toys, etc.
Include Business-Related Measures in Your Plan
In addition to personal and family-related safety measures, entrepreneurs need to include measures to safeguard their businesses and finances as well. This is because any damages to your business-related assets and finances are typically covered by liability insurance. However, to make a claim, you’ll need to produce documents of ownership and other types of proof. Hence here are the steps you should take to be prepared:
- Securely store all business-related documents in a safe that can be accessed easily
- Scan your documents and upload them to a secured cloud storage application.
- For those that run a home-based business, homeowners insurance may not cover the costs of business-related damages. Hence, it’s important to undertake a separate business liability insurance policy.
In conclusion, creating a family emergency plan for natural disasters is crucial to ensure the safety of your loved ones. Practicing your evacuation plan will be key for training kids to act appropriately during natural disasters. Additionally, if you run a business from home, be sure to have a separate emergency plan in place to protect your business.