Nobody can predict emergencies, but everyone can be prepared for them. Having an emergency plan is an inexpensive way to be prepared.
Review how to recognize different emergencies with your family, especially with older children who are capable of helping younger children. Once family members understand how to recognize emergency situations, the next step is to instruct them on what to do in such situations.
Every emergency plan should include details of how to exit your house in case of an emergency. Not all exits may be usable in an emergency, so include different escape routes from your house. Be sure to recognize all windows and doors as potential exits, with proper instructions on how to exit through a window safely.
Emergency contacts are the next essential part of an emergency plan. Two types of contacts need to be included, in-town and out-of-town. In-town contacts are useful for small emergencies that only affect your own household. Out-of-town contacts are useful in emergencies which affect not only your household but the households of everyone in the surrounding area. Post this list of contacts next to each phone in the house and store the numbers in your cell phones.
Establish meeting locations, one in town and one out of town. Not all family members may be at home when disaster strikes, so make sure your meeting locations are well known. Also be sure that all family members know how to get to the meeting locations, even children.
A final part of an effective emergency plan is to acquire emergency supplies such as survival kits (72-hour kits) that may be grabbed in a hurry and carried out the door. Commercial survival kits include all necessary personal and first aid items one would need for temporary use in emergencies. Survival kits are inexpensive and may be purchased online. Be sure to have enough survival kits to sustain your entire family in emergencies.
Review your emergency plan with your family regularly and update your plan details as needed. Following these steps will minimize the dangers you and your family may encounter in emergency situations.