Family Disaster Plan
can strike quickly and without warning. It can force
you to evacuate your neighborhood or confine you to
your home. What would you do if basic services--water,
gas, electricity or telephones--were cut off? Local
officials and relief workers will be on the scene after
a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone right away.
can--and do--cope with disaster by preparing in advance
and working together as a team. Follow the steps listed
in this brochure to create your family's disaster plan.
Knowing what to do is your best protection and your
will your family be when disaster strikes? They could
be anywhere--at work, at school or in the car.
will you find each other? Will you know if your children
Steps to Safety
Out What Could Happen to You
Contact your local emergency management or civil defense
office and American Red Cross chapter--be prepared
to take notes:
what types of disasters are most likely to happen.
Request information on how to prepare for each.
about your community's warning signals: what they
sound like and what you should do when you hear
about animal care after disaster. Animals may
not be allowed inside emergency shelters due to
out how to help elderly or disabled persons, if
find out about the disaster plans at your workplace,
your children's school or daycare center and other
places where your family spends time.
Create a Disaster Plan
Meet with your family and discuss why you need to
prepare for disaster. Explain the dangers of fire,
severe weather and earthquakes to children. Plan to
share responsibilities and work together as a team.
the types of disasters that are most likely to
happen. Explain what to do in each case.
two places to meet:
Right outside your home in case of a sudden
emergency, like a fire.
your neighborhood in case you can't return
home. Everyone must know the address and phone
an out-of-state friend to be your "family
contact." After a disaster, its often easier
to call long distance. Other family members should
call this person and tell them where they are.
Everyone must know your contact's phone number.
what to do in an evacuation. Plan how to take
care of your pets.
Complete This Checklist
emergency telephone numbers by phones (fire, police,
children how and when to call 911 or your local
Emergency Medical Services number for emergency
each family member how and when to turn off the
water, gas and electricity at the main switches.
if you have adequate insurance coverage.
each family member how to use the fire extinguisher
(ABC type), and show them where it's kept.
smoke detectors on each level of your home, especially
a home hazard hunt.
emergency supplies and assemble a Disaster Supplies
a Red Cross first aid and CPR class.
the best escape routes from your home. Find two
ways out of each room.
the safe spots in your home for each type of disaster.
Practice and Maintain Your Plan
your kids every six months so they remember what
fire and emergency evacuation drills.
stored water every three months and stored food
every six months.
and recharge your fire extinguisher(s) according
to manufacturer's instructions.
your smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries
at least once a year.
enough supplies in your home to meet your needs for
at least three days. Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit
with items you may need in an evacuation. Store these
supplies in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers such as
backpacks, duffle bags or covered trash containers.
three-day supply of water (one gallon per person per
day) and food that won't spoil.
change of clothing and footwear per person, and one
blanket or sleeping bag per person.
first aid kit that includes your family's prescription
tools including a battery-powered radio, flashlight
and plenty of extra batteries.
extra set of car keys and a credit card, cash or traveler's
items for infant, elderly or disabled family members.
extra pair of glasses.
important family documents in a waterproof container.
Keep a smaller kit in the trunk of your car.
the main electric fuse box, water service main and natural
gas main. Learn how and when to turn these utilities
off. Teach all responsible family members. Keep necessary
tools near gas and water shut-off valves.
turn off the utilities only if you suspect the lines
are damaged or if you are instructed to do so. If
you turn the gas off, you will need a professional to
turn it back on.
with neighbors can save lives and property. Meet with
your neighbors to plan how the neighborhood could work
together after a disaster until help arrives. If you're
a member of a neighborhood organization, such as a home
association or crime watch group, introduce disaster
preparedness as a new activity. Know your neighbors'
special skills (e.g., medical, technical) and consider
how you could help neighbors who have special needs,
such as disabled and elderly persons. Make plans for
child care in case parents can't get home.
a disaster, ordinary objects in your home can cause
injury or damage. Anything that can move, fall, break
or cause a fire is a home hazard. For example, a hot
water heater or a bookshelf can fall. Inspect your home
at least once a year and fix potential hazards.
your local fire department to learn about home fire
immediately if told to do so:
to your battery-powered radio and follow the instructions
of local emergency officials.
protective clothing and sturdy shoes.
your family disaster supplies kit
travel routes specified by local authorities--don't
use shortcuts because certain areas may be impassable
you're sure you have time:
off water, gas and electricity before leaving, if
instructed to do so.
a note telling others when you left and where you
arrangements for your pets.
If disaster strikes, remain calm and patient. Put your
plan into action.
Check for injuries. Give first aid and get help for
seriously injured people.
Listen to your battery powered radio for news and instructions.
Evacuate, if advised to do so. Wear protective clothing
and sturdy shoes.
for damage in your home:
flashlights--do not light matches or turn on electrical
switches, if you suspect damage.
for fires, fire hazards and other household hazards.
for gas leaks, starting at the water heater. If you
smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas
valve, open windows, and get everyone outside quickly.
off any other damaged utilities.
up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline and other
flammable liquids immediately.
or secure your pets.
your family contact--do not use the telephone again
unless it is a life-threatening emergency.
on your neighbors, especially elderly or disabled
sure you have an adequate water supply in case service
is cut off.
away from downed power lines.
Federal Emergency Management Agency's Family Protection
Program and the American Red Cross' Disaster Education
Program are nationwide efforts to help citizens prepare
for disasters of all types. For more information, please
contact your local emergency management or civil defense
office, and your local American Red Cross chapter. Start
sponsorship provided by: The New Jersey Office of Emergency
information provided by the Federal Emergency Management
Agency and the American Red Cross. FEMA L-191, ARC 4466