Make a Plan


Because a disaster can disrupt your primary emergency plan, it is also important for you to develop a back-up plan to ensure your safety.


Meet with Your Family / Personal Care Attendants / Building Manager


Review the information you gathered about community hazards and emergency plans.



Choose an "Out-of-State" Contact


Ask an out-of-state friend or relative to be your contact. Following a disaster, family members should call this person and tell them where they are. Everyone must know the contact’s phone numbers. After a disaster, it is often easier to make a long distance call than a local call from a disaster area.



Decide Where to Meet


In the event of an emergency, you may become separated from household members. Choose a place right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire. Choose a location outside your neighborhood in case you can’t return home.



Complete a Communications Plan


Your plan should include contact information for family members, members of your support network, caregivers, work, and school. Your plan should also include information for your out-of-town contact, meeting locations, emergency services, and the National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222). This contact information can be recorded and carried in a wallet, purse, backpack, etc, for quick reference.


Teach your children how to call the emergency phone numbers and when it is appropriate to do so. Be sure each family member has a copy of your communication plan and post it near your telephone for use in an emergency.



Escape Routes and Safe Places


In a fire or other emergency, you may need to evacuate on a moment’s notice. Be ready to get out fast. Be sure everyone in your family knows the best escape routes out of your home.


Use a blank sheet of paper to draw the floor plans of your home. Show the location of doors, windows, stairways, large furniture, your disaster supplies kit, fire extinguisher, smoke alarms, other visual and auditory alarms, collapsible ladders, first-aid kits, and utility shut-off points. Show important points outside such as garages, patios, stairways, elevators, driveways, and porches.


Indicate at least two escape routes from each room, and mark a place outside of the home where household members and/or your personal care attendant should meet in case of fire. If you or someone in your household uses a wheelchair, make exits from your home wheelchair accessible.



Plan for Your Pets


Take your pets with you if you evacuate. However, be aware that pets (other than service animals) usually are not permitted in emergency public shelters for health reasons. Prepare a list of family, friends, boarding facilities, veterinarians, and “pet-friendly” hotels that could shelter your pets in an emergency.



Prepare for Different Hazards


Include in your plan how to prepare for each hazard that could impact your local community and how to protect yourself. Determine in advance what your alternative shelter will be and how you will get there.


Other hazards, like a home fire, will require you to leave. Make sure both primary and secondary exits are accessible and that you can locate them by touch or feel (since lights may be out and thick, black smoke may make it very hard to see).