Creating a Family Emergency Preparedness Plan

What each of us can and should do today to ensure the safety and well being of our families.
by Lisa M. Hendey | Source:
Events such as this week's unfortunate California wildfires are reminders to us that we all need to take proactive steps to have family emergency preparedness plans in place in the event of a disaster, storm, or emergency. Watching families depart their homes and return to rubble is simply devastating. There are things that each of us can and should do today to ensure the safety and well being of our families.

Thankfully, resources and information about disaster preparedness are abundant on the Internet. One of the best I've seen is Ready America from the Department of Homeland Security. Located at, this easy to use web site lays out a perfect plan for helping your family be ready for many situations. The site is broken into three basic steps to help you get started today on your family's emergency preparedness plan.

• Get A Kit: This section of the website focuses on ensuring that your family will have access to the basics for survival: food, fresh water, clean air and warmth. The site's informational video shows in greater detail what items you will want to have on hand and how to store them. A printable list of kit items can be downloaded. These items range from a duct mask to diapers.
• Make A Plan: This section of the website emphasizes making contact with all family members and an outside contact once disaster strikes, assuming that you may all be in separate places when the worst happens. You can view, download and complete a data sheet with important information and a contact card for each family member. Part of the data on these sheets includes recording information about insurance policies and physician and pharmacist contact information. This sheet should be completed and kept in a secure, waterproof container along with your survival kit.
• Be Informed: This section of the website refers users to geographically specific data and plans for their particular area of the country. We need to discuss with and teach our children about the correct responses to different situations that could arise as a result of natural or man-made disasters.

The Ready America website is an excellent place to start planning for your family's safety. Other issues to tackle related to disaster preparedness include the following:

• Insurance Coverage - Be aware of your current coverage and consider upgrading if you live in an area prone to natural disasters.
• Pets - Pets are members of our families and may need special provisions in the event of an emergency. Check out the ASPCA website for pet specific information.
• Family Finances - It is important to have backup records of important financial documents that are kept in a safe place and readily accessed in emergency situations.

While this is just a brief overview of the many steps that need to be taken to aid your family, taking proactive action to plan for unfortunate events can go a long way towards protecting your safety and peace of mind if the worst hits. Events such as recent storms and fires are also an excellent reminder to each of us that we must look outside of ourselves and take every effort to help others when these types of disasters strike. By supporting agencies such as the American Red Cross and Catholic Charities, we can reach out and help our brothers and sisters in need of our love and support.

Lisa M. Hendey, wife and mother of two sons, is the webmaster of and the podcast host of

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