Disasters happen abruptly and frequently without warning. For example, when an earthquake strikes, the ground will suddenly tremble and shake - sometimes violently for as long as 60 to 90 seconds. Many people's "fight or flight" instinct will urge them to RUN! Studies prove that many people are killed or injured as they run out of their homes or offices where windows are breaking, bricks are falling, sidewalks are cracking and power lines are coming down. Developing a Family Disaster Plan will help you and your loved ones conquer the instinct to run by teaching you how to be safe and giving you a set of procedures to follow.
First... If you have not already done so, organize your family into a council and find out what disasters, both natural and technological, could happen in your area. Share responsibilities and work together as a team.
Second... Begin compiling the elements of your Family Disaster Plan into a notebook such as a three ring binder that can be kept in a central location in your home. We've created some disaster plan forms to make this step easy.
Third... Put your plan into action. Executing all the preparations, precautions, and procedures in your family disaster plan won't happen overnight or even over a month. But it can be done one step at a time over an extended period of time.
Fourth... Practice and maintain your plan. Review your plans every six months so everyone remembers what to do. Conduct earthquake, fire and emergency evacuation drills. Rotate and refresh your emergency food and water supplies. Check your smoke detectors and replace the batteries at least once a year.
------------------------------------------------------------------------Disaster Plan Forms
Our Family Disaster Plan Notebook E-Prep Program: Month #1
Creating a Family Disaster Plan is the first preparedness activity in our 12-Month Emergency Preparedness Program. In the folder below, you will find downloadable forms that you can use to create your Family Disaster Plan. Review the forms and decide what will be of most value to you and your family. Assemble these forms in a three ring binder.
At minimum, your Family Disaster Plan notebook should contain:
The Floor Plan page (shows escape routes, safety spots and danger spots)
The Reunion Points page
The Family Contact page
Emergency Numbers & Information page
Emergency Medical Information page for each family member
Medical release form for each minor child.
We recommend that you calendar a family council meeting and complete the forms together.
Store your Family Disaster Plan notebook near the telephone in the kitchen, or some other central location in your home.
Make sure everyone in your family is familiar with the contents of your Family Disaster Plan as well as where to find it and how to use it in the event of an emergency.
Review your plan periodically (every 6 months or 12 months) and update the information annually or as necessary.
Click below to download forms:
Individual & Family Preparedness
No matter how much you may wish to stay at home, there are times when evacuation will be your only choice. These include a nuclear, chemical or biological event as well as any impending disaster that is likely to destroy your home. An evacuation plan is an essential element of your Family Disaster Plan and should include where to go, how to get there and what to bring with you.
Where To Go:
If the order to evacuate is given, you should do so immediately and carefully follow the directions given by local authorities. If a local shelter has been established, you will be advised where to go. But if sitting on cots at the local high school gymnasium or National Guard Armory is not to your liking, and you are free to leave the area, a safe house or survival retreat in a location where the current crisis will not threaten you is a good alternative.
The easiest way to set up a safe house is to coordinate with a friend or family member located between 100 and 150 miles away, preferably in a different setting. [A vacation home, hunting lodge, or second residence can also serve as a safe house if you are fortunate to have one.] For example:
If you're in the inner city, they should be in a rural area or at least a smaller town, preferably not the suburbs of your city.
If you're near the coast, they should be inland.
If you're near a flood plain, the safe house should be on higher ground.
Following these guidelines, you can be relatively sure of several things:
Whatever disaster you are facing should not affect them, and vice versa. This allows you to trade off, so when they are facing a survival situation, your home can be their safe house.
You'll be running towards something, not just away from danger.
You can get there on one tank of gas, even if there is a great deal of traffic.
You won't be turned away at the inn (Hotel rooms are quickly filled, and often at inflated prices).
How to Get There:
Whichever option you've chosen for your safe house, the best way to get there is by car. It's convenient (most of us have them), offers some protection, is relatively fast and allows us to carry much more gear than on foot or bicycle.
And the old adage about never letting your car's gas tank get below half makes a lot of sense. We also recommend keeping a couple of five gallon tanks of gas on hand "for emergencies." But remember to store these properly in a safe location outside your house or garage. You can use these to top off your tank or carry with you (strapped to the roof, perhaps) when given the order to evacuate.
And while we're on the subject of cars, make sure yours is in good mechanical condition.
One of the most critical factors in an evacuation plan is route planning. You should have memorized several routes to your safe house or survival retreat and have maps on hand so you can identify alternate routes around accidents or other problem areas. The routes should include:
The fastest, most direct route. This will be your first choice when you are getting out early, before the crowds.
A back road route. This may be your best bet when the interstates are clogged with lines of cars all trying to leave "ground zero."
An indirect route. There may be a time when you need to get away, but don't want anyone to know where you're going. There may come a day when it make sense to go north 200 miles out of your way to end up 150 miles east of your destination. This is also the route to choose if you have reason to believe you may be followed.
What to Bring with You:
A bug-out bag is the first -- and possibly only -- thing you grab when you're evacuating. When the fire alarm is going off, for example, grab the kids, the bug-out bags and get out. Each member of the family should have his or her own Bug-Out-Bag.
Click here http://www.pep-c.org/bedbagkits/to find out what should be included in a Bug-Out-Bag.
Depending on the nature of the crisis at hand, if you have the time and room in your vehicle, you may also want to grab your 72 hour emergency food container, a tent, sleeping bags, and other camping or survival equipment you may have on hand. Most of these items should already be stored in an easily accessible location outside your home in the event there is a major earthquake.
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