Family Disaster Planning Guide
When thinking about being prepared for disasters, many people first think about stocking up on food and water or preparing a “Bug-Out-Bag” for possible evacuation. We often start thinking about getting ready for that electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack or the complete breakdown in our society, where everyone has to suddenly become “survivalists” and fend for themselves.
We often forget about protecting our home and family from all the more common emergencies or disasters that are likely to occur. Things like Break-ins and theft, home fires, burst water pipes, storm damage, power outages, and injuries happening at home are often areas we overlook in our preparedness plans.
Our Family Disaster Planning Guide will help you get a good “family disaster plan checklist” and a “home disaster survival kit” put together. We’ll break down this guide into the following areas:
- Family Disaster Plan meetings
- Disaster types
- Emergency contact lists
- Emergency alerts & warnings
- Documents needed to be kept handy
- Protecting your property
- Protecting yourself and family
- 1st Aid Kits
- Home supplies to stock up on
- Home environment controls
- Meeting areas or Rally Points
Family Disaster Plan meetings:
We want to start our planning by getting everyone “on the same page” so that every family member will know what to do in case of emergency. Discuss the different types of emergencies or disasters that might possibly occur. Everyone show know what to do in case one of these events happens, what to do, who to call, where to go, etc.
I my own example, I am usually the person who takes care of most home maintenance and repairs. Without a family meeting and a plan, no one else would even know where or how to shut off the water in case a pipe started leaking or burst!
Think about all the different emergencies or disaster that could possibly occur in your area. Have a plan for each of these, everything from a simple minor injury to a major area disaster.
- Falls & other home injuries
- Break-ins & theft
- Water Leaks
- Gas Leaks
- Power outages
- Winter storms
- Chemical Spills
- Heat waves
- Riots or other civil unrest
Emergency Contact Lists:
- Family contacts
- Work contacts
- School contacts
- Medical Contacts
- Local friends contacts
- Out of town contacts
- Insurance contacts
- Police & fire contacts
- Utilities & services contacts
Emergency Alerts & Warnings:
Contact local authorities to find out what types of alerts and warnings are available in your areas. Are there local sirens warning of storms or tornadoes? Are Amber Alerts and weather alerts sent out to your cell phone? Do you need to sign up for any of these or are the automatic through your phone carrier? Do you need to download any special apps (FEMA, American Red Cross, Weather Channel, etc.) to get these alerts? What radio and TV stations will broadcast alerts?
Do you need a special radio to get these alerts? NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) is a US nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office. They also broadcast warnings and information on natural disasters (like earthquakes), environmental disasters (like chemical or oil spills), and public safety (like AMBER alerts). NWR requires a special radio or scanner capable of picking up their signal.
Documents to Keep Available:
You will want to have access to several types of documents in the case of and emergency or disaster. Keep copies both at home in a safe or secure lock box, off-site at a bank safety deposit box, or electronically stored in the cloud (like Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.)
- Drivers license
- Social Security Cards
- Green Card
- Visa documents
- Mortgage, lease, or rental agreements
- Vehicle titles
- Insurance documents
- Property Inventory list & photos
- Medical records
- Medicare, Medicaid, & VA benefits
- Veterinary records
Protecting You Property:
- Re-enforced doors and door jams
- Alarm Systems
- Smoke & Carbon Monoxide detectors
- Fire extinguishers
- Natural landscape barriers (ie. thorny bushes under windows to discourage break-ins)
Be prepared to protect yourself and family members from physical harm from attackers. Stay in good physical shape. Take self-defense classes. If you choose to protect yourself with firearms, know the laws and practice with them so you know how to use them.
1st Aid Kit:
Have a well-stocked 1st aid kit. I suggest you put one together yourself rather than buying a pre-made kit. This way you will know exactly what you have in it. Learn basic 1st aid techniques and procedures, especially the Heimlich maneuver in case of choking, and CPR in case a person stops breathing.
Have a good checklist so it contains what you may need, and be sure to replace anything used out of it on a regular basis.
Stocking Up on Supplies:
- Water: Plan on storing at least 1 gallon of water per day for each person. If you may run short, know where other sources of water in the area are. Know how to purify water from these other sources.
- Food: Stock up on foods that have long shelf lives. Make it food you normally eat and things that are easy to prepare. You may have limited resources for food preparation. (For instance a power outage would mean your electric stove won’t work, so you may need to use a camping stove). Don’t forget staples like flour, sugar, salt, etc. Also remember formula and baby food for any infants.
- Sanitation: Stock up on things like toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, toothpaste, paper plates, paper towels, plastic bags, etc.
- Other Items: Spare eyeglasses, contacts, & contact solution.
- Repair Materials: Hammer, nails, plywood, rolls of plastic sheeting, tarps, etc. to make repairs to broken windows, damaged roofs, etc.
- Batteries and solar chargers: Have plenty of spares for your flashlights, radios, etc. Solar chargers are an option to charge you cell phone during power outage.
Home Environment Controls:
Plan ways to keep cool during heat wave should a power outage occur. Know how to stay warm in cold or freezing weather if the furnace or heater isn’t working. Examples may be having a back-up generator, using passive solar energy coming in through the windows, setting up a tent indoors! Hey, whatever works in an emergency- be creative!
Be aware of the dangers of using a stove, propane heaters, grills, etc. to heat indoors.
Meeting Area or Rally Point:
Include in your plan a place for everyone to meet should you have to evacuate your home or area due to a disaster. Know when and where to meet up should you get separated or loose contact with other family members.
Continue Learning & Preparing
Use checklists, forms etc. that you can keep in a binder to help you plan and stay organized. Make sure all family members know what to do. Make a point of having family meetings to go over these plans and make updates or revisions as needed. Teach others in the family how to store and prepare supplies, make repairs, learn 1st aid and self-defense skills.
This is just a basic Family Disaster Planning Guide to get you started. Don’t be afraid to learn more in any or all of these areas. There a lots of great books on survival, food storage, canning, homesteading, 1st aid training, etc. that can further your education on learning how to prepare yourself and family.
Watch and keep checking back here at the UltimatePrepperGuide.com for more detailed articles on these subjects.
Send me an email and let me know you thoughts and what you would like to see in future articles and posts. David@UltimatePrepperGuide.com
I’m always learning new things and would love to share these ideas with you.
Have fun with your prepping plans,