16 Steps to Creating a Household Emergency Plan for Your Family

Mar 31, 2023 | Health & Safety

Fires, floods, power outages – you never know when an emergency will strike. It’s important for families to prepare for natural disasters and other types of emergencies by having a plan in place for everyone to follow. Below are steps to creating a household emergency plan provided by the State of New York:

  1. Meet with your family members and discuss the dangers of possible emergency events including fire, severe weather, hazardous spills, and terrorism.
  2. Discuss how you and your family will respond to each possible emergency. Know how to contact all family members at all times. Think 24/7 and 365.
  3. Discuss what to do in case of power outages or personal injuries
  4. Draw a floor plan of your home. If possible, mark two escape routes from each room.
  5. Select two places to meet: a spot outside your home for an emergency such as fire, and a place away from your neighborhood in case you cannot return home (a real possibility during the day when most adults are at work and children are at school).
  6. Identify an out-of-town friend or relative as your “emergency family check-in contact” for everyone to call if the family gets separated. Make sure all family members have the correct phone number. It is often easier to call out-of-town during an emergency than within the affected area.
  7. Post emergency contact numbers near all telephones. Include local police, fire and health departments, poison control, your children’s schools, doctors, child/senior care providers and insurance agents.
  8. Make sure everyone knows how and when to call 9-1-1 or your local emergency medical services phone number.
  9. Install safety features in your home such as smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and carbon monoxide detectors.
  10. Inspect your home for potential hazards – and correct them.
  11. Have your family learn basic safety and first aid measures.
  12. Keep family records in a waterproof and fireproof safe.
  13. Have emergency supplies on hand.
  14. Teach adults how to turn off the water, gas and electricity at main switches. If for any reason you do turn off natural gas service to your home, call your natural gas utility to restore service. DO NOT attempt to restore gas service yourself.
  15. Make arrangements for your pets. Most shelters do not allow pets. Prior to an emergency, contact your county or local emergency management office and ask them where you could leave your pet. Have ID, collar, leash and proof of vaccination for all pets. Have current photos of your pets in case they get lost.
  16. PRACTICE the Plan!

Get more tips on family emergency planning from the New York Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.

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