It’s the middle of the night and the knock at the door tells you it’s time to evacuate. Immediately. There is no time to think about what you need to do. If your family does not have an emergency plan, you should make one today. And it’s important that ALL your family members know how to respond, no matter what type of disaster it is. There will be different scenarios for different emergencies, so be aware of the kind of disasters that are most likely to strike in your area, e.g., tornado, flood, hurricane, wildfire, etc.
Since there’s a chance your family may not be together if a disaster occurs, have a solid understanding of how you will contact each other and reconnect if separated. Determine a good family meeting place that is easy to find and familiar.
Discuss the following four questions with your family, friends, or anyone in your household to begin creating an emergency plan.
- How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
- What is my shelter plan?
- What is my evacuation route?
- What is my family/household communication plan?
Consider each person’s needs in your household. As you prepare your plan, remember certain supplies, medications, etc., that each person needs. Discuss responsibilities and how each of you can support one another whether by communication, childcare, business, pet care, or operation of medical equipment. Create your own personal network for specific areas of your community where you need assistance and assess whether you will be able to assist others.
These are important factors to remember as you create your plan:
- Each household member’s age and mobility
- Special dietary foods needed
- Medical prescriptions and/or equipment
- Disabilities or challenges that require certain equipment or monitoring
- Languages spoken
- Cultural and religious considerations
- Household pets or service animals
- Households with school-aged children
Once you have created your emergency plan, practice it with your family/household; have a dress rehearsal to make sure it works for everyone. It’s a way to iron out any problems.
Keeping your insurance current is obviously important anytime, but it is especially important if you’re faced with an emergency. Stay in touch with your local independent insurance agent to double check periodically that all of your insurance policies are active and cover everything they should be.