Family Disaster Plan

Family Disaster Plan Information
Where will you or your family be when disaster strikes? You could be anywhere, at work, at school, or in the car. How will you find each other? Will you know if your children are safe? Follow these 4 steps to safety:

Be Prepared - Find Out What the Hazards Are
Types of hazards you can be affected by in will county include natural hazards such as floods, tornadoes, thunderstorms and lightning, winter storms and extreme cold, drought, extreme heat, severe weather, earthquakes, wildfires. We can also be impacted by pandemic, home fires, and technological and accidental hazards such as blackouts, hazardous materials incidents (fixed facility and transportation), household chemical emergencies, and nuclear power plants, as well as terrorist hazards.

Create a Family Disaster Plan
  • Meet with your family and discuss why you need to prepare for disaster. Explain the dangers of the various hazards. 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. Use the Family Emergency Plan (PDF) template as a guide to help you through the process.
  • Pick two meeting places:
    • Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire.
    • Outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home. Everyone needs to know the address and phone number.
  • Ask an out-of-state family member or friend to be your "family contact." After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance, as well as to talk with a person who is removed from the disaster you and your family are dealing with. Everyone must know the out-of-state contact's name and telephone number.
Complete This Checklist
  • Post your complete home address near your telephones.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers by phones (fire, police, ambulance, etc.).
  • Teach children how and when to call 911 or your local Emergency Medical Services number for emergency help. See Knowing How to Use 911 with the Phone You Own (PDF)!
  • 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. (If you do not have a fire extinguisher, you probably should!)
  • Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms.
  • Install CO2 detectors on each level of your home.
  • Conduct a home hazard hunt.
  • Stock emergency supplies and assemble an Emergency Supply Kit (PDF).
  • Take first aid and CPR training classes. The American Red Cross, American Heart Association, and National Safety Council sponsor such courses in your local community.
  • 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 family (including your children) 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 and CO2 detectors monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.
Also, consider neighbors helping neighbors. Working with neighbors can save lives and property. Meet with your neighbors to plan how the neighborhood could work together after a disaster until help arrives. If you're a member of a neighborhood organization, such as a home association or a neighborhood watch, introduce disaster preparedness as a new activity. Know your neighbors' special skills (e.g., medical, technical) and consider how you could help neighbors who have special needs, such as disabled and elderly persons. Make plans for child care in case parents can't get home.

If you have any questions, or would like further information on Family Disaster Preparedness, please contact our office.