|Resolve to be Ready ... Make a Plan Now
Have a hard time keeping New Year's resolutions? Here's one that's free and easy to do. Best of all, it will make a difference.
Resolve now to make sure your family has a plan in case of an emergency. Before an emergency happens, sit down together and decide how you will get in touch with each other, where you will go and what you will do in an emergency.
Why is this important? Families may not be together when an emergency happens, and if you have a written family emergency plan, then you and your loved ones will be better able in every way to handle an emergency.
Here's what to do:
• Talk about the types of emergencies that could happen to you - include weather emergencies and other natural disasters and human-caused situations.
• Decide on a meeting place in case you cannot return home. Choose a neighborhood meeting place and another meeting place if you can't get to your neighborhood. Also, if you have pets, choose a destination that accepts pets if you ever need to evacuate your home for any length of time.
• Choose an out-of-town friend or relative as an emergency point of contact. The reason this is important is that it may be easier to make a long distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact can help communicate among separated family members. Be sure everyone in your family carries the phone number for that person.
• If you are a parent, ask your schools and daycare providers how they will communicate with families during a crisis. Ask if they are prepared to "shelter in place" if needed and where they plan to go if they must leave.
• Write down your family emergency plan. Get printable worksheets to make a plan at www.ReadyVirginia.gov. This Web site also provides information about emergency supplies and how to respond to all types of emergencies.
During an emergency, you will be better prepared to safely reunite your family and loved ones if you have a family plan. In 2009, resolve to be ready ... make a plan now.
Prepared by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, December 2008