Household Disaster Plan

Find out what could happen to you and your family

• Contact your local emergency management office; be prepared to take notes.
• Ask what types of disasters are most likely to happen. Request information on how to prepare for each.
• Learn about your community's warning signals: what they sound like and what you should do when you hear them.
• Ask about animal care after disaster. Animals may not be allowed inside emergency shelters due to health regulations.
• Find out how to help elderly or disabled persons, if needed.
• Next, find out about the disaster plans at your workplace, your children's school or daycare center and other places where your family spends time.

Create a Disaster Plan

• Meet with your family and discuss why you need to prepare for disaster.
• Explain the dangers of fire, severe weather and other hazards 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.
• Ask an out-of-state friend to be your "family contact."
• Discuss what to do in an evacuation.
• Plan how to take care of your pets.

Make Emergency Preparations

• Post emergency telephone numbers by phones (fire, police, ambulance, etc.).
• Teach children how and when to call 911 for emergency help.
• 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 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 and Maintain your Plan

• 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 at least twice a year.