Create an emergency plan. Choose an out-of-town contact your family or household will call or email to check on each other should a disaster occur. Your contact should live far enough away that they would be unlikely to be directly affected by the same event, and they should know they are the chosen contact. Make sure every household member has that contact's email addresses and telephone numbers. Leave these contact numbers at your children's schools. Your family should know that if telephones are not working, they need to be patient and try again later or try email.
Establish a meeting place. Having a predetermined meeting place away from your home will save time and minimize confusion should your home be affected or the area evacuated. You may even want to make arrangements to stay with a family member or friend in case of an emergency. Be sure to include any pets in these plans, since pets are not permitted in shelters and some hotels will not accept them.
Assemble a disaster supply kit. If you need to evacuate your home or are asked to "shelter in place," having some essential supplies on hand will make you and your family more comfortable.
- Prepare a disaster supplies kit in an easy-to-carry container.
- Include "special needs" items for any household member (infant formula or items for people with disabilities or older people), first aid supplies (including prescription medications), a change of clothing for each person, a sleeping bag or bedroll for each, a battery powered radio or television and extra batteries, food, bottled water and tools.
- It is also a good idea to include some cash and copies of important family documents (birth certificates, passports and licenses) in your kit.
Know the emergency plan at your child's school. You need to know that your children will be kept at school until a parent or designated adult can pick them up or send them home on their own. Be sure that the school has updated information about how to reach parents and responsible caregivers to arrange for pick-up. During times of emergency the school telephones may be overwhelmed with calls.