You are told you need to evacuate your home in 1 hour, what are you going to do?
When I originally started writing this blog post my answer was grab our 72-hour kits, fill up with gas and go. But I KNEW that wasn’t right, and our family needed to have a better emergency plan.
We have 3 young kids in our family, and my husband works. If something were to happen when he was gone at work, I would forget everything and be stressed like crazy!
I decided before finishing this blog post that I needed to sit down with my husband, and go over our family evacuation plan. Then, sit down with our kids to discuss it. Our oldest is only 4, so this caused lots of questions and some fear, but it has also gotten him thinking.
The other day he told me to go get under the table because a tornado was coming. It’s important for us to realize how much our young kids do understand and take in. Discussing these emergency situations ahead of time will make it less scary and confusing when the time comes.
Steps to prepare an emergency plan
The obvious first step to creating an emergency plan is to sit down with your significant other and family, and talk. Talk about each different emergency that could happen. What they are, what they mean. If you aren’t sure what emergencies there are to cover, this list of ALL the different kinds of emergencies will help.
Discuss what to do in your home in case of fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, blizzards and other severe weather problems. Be sure to include safe spots to go to in your home and why it is important to find a safe area. Explaining to kids why the area is safe can help them adapt that to if they are away from home during a major weather emergency.
Review and make sure your kids have your phone numbers and addresses memorized. If they are older have them memorize phone numbers for family in another state and an address for a contact outside of your state.
Another good idea is to talk about a meeting spot. In case of a fire, your mail box or another location down the street further from the house is a good idea. It is also important to find a meeting spot outside of your neighborhood. This could be a family members, friends, or church building.
2. Create an Emergency Binder
This step will take time and will be tedious… but in the long run it will be worth it.
An emergency binder is a quick grab binder that has ALL of your important information in it. It may include original documents, but I recommend using copies. Keep your original documents in a fire/water proof safe that locks. Your emergency binder will need to include:
- Vital information such as: birth certificates, drivers license, marriage license, medical history and medications, blood type, shot records, SSN, current photos of family and pets, ect.
- Insurance information for your home, car, medical, life. Be sure to have how to contact your insurance company and agents.
- Financial and other information such as: copies of credit and debit cards and how to contact them, bank information with locations and contact info, a list and photos of your property and possessions, all your accounts and passwords, titles and deeds to your car, house, ect.
There are MANY people out there who have created an emergency plan and download for you to use.
3. 72-Hour Kit
This is a easy to grab bag that will have enough food, water, and supplies to last you 3 days AWAY from your home. Along with physical identification documents, this will be your physical needs part of your emergency plan.
Read how to build your own DIY 72-Hour Kit. These are also called “Bug out Bags”. Make sure you have one for each person in your family. It needs to be customized for YOUR family and YOUR needs.
4. Evacuation Plan
I don’t know about you, but I get STRESSED when things happen fast and I FORGET a lot. If I were to add a life threatening situation on top of that, with thinking about getting my 3 kids ready and meeting my husband I might just pass out on the spot.
This is where an evacuation plan comes into place. An evacuation plan is pretty much a list of everything you need to grab and do before leaving your home. Some examples may be:
- turn off water, gas, electricity
- grab your emergency binder
- get your 72-hour kit
- make sure you have warm/cold weather gear that may not be in your 72-hour kit
- fill up car with gas
- call in state and out of state contacts to let them know what’s going on
- other ideas depending on time- grab photos, your journals, favorite heirlooms, extra lap top battery and phone charger, ect.
A great idea FoodStorageMadeEasy had was creating a separate evacuation list for each member of the family. This will allow you each to get your items in a short amount of time and not forget things.
Simple Family Preparedness wrote a great post about Evacuation and What you Need. I highly recommend reading their post!
5. Car Kit
Along the lines of a 72-hour kit, would be an emergency car kit. Here is a GREAT emergency car kit list, a long with an ultimate list of 14 OTHER bloggers emergency car kit lists. This would be a kit that stays in your car. Here is another great emergency vehicle list.
I think all of these steps are important, but…one of the biggest things that will HELP you in a emergency is your experience.
Practice your fire escape route and where to go in case of a tornado. Make sure many of you in your family can start a fire, know CPR and all the basic first aid skills.
When the stress of a life threatening emergency is there, the only thing that will keep you moving is what your body knows and is trained to do. It will not have the time or patience to think, it will be focused on ACTING and DOING what needs to be done.
I honestly don’t ever think you can be completely finished with your family emergency plan. You will need to update your 72-hour kits, car kits and emergency binders 1-3 times a year. Your living situation may change, or your contacts and where they live might change. Preparing your emergency plan is just the first step. The next step is practicing, reviewing, and adjusting to your needs as your family and situations change.
Is there something you would add to the list of creating an emergency plan? Comment below.
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Thanks for reading!