Practicing Your Plan
Creating an emergency plan will help your family be more prepared for disasters, but practicing your plan is just as essential. The more you review a plan with your family, the more likely everyone will remember it and be able to take appropriate action during an emergency.
There are few simple steps you can take to create and practice your plans:
- When planning, talk with your family about the emergencies you are most likely to encounter based on where you live. Discuss geographic elements (in Middle Tennessee we often experience severe storms and flooding) and situations you may encounter at any time (having car trouble or a house fire).
- Assign responsibilities to each member of the family, including kids. Everyone has something to contribute, and during an emergency you will need to work together as a team. Having dedicated tasks will also help with preventing stress during a disaster.
- Practice as much of your plan(s) as possible, even if it is just talking through it. Do this on a regular basis, so everyone remembers what to do. Have everyone practice what they would do in the actual situation. This will help everyone, especially kids, feel better prepared for both actions and emotions that come with an actual disaster.
- Make sure everyone in the family knows where to go for different emergencies. Choose two places to meet up. For sudden emergencies such as a fire, meet somewhere right outside your home. If you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate, plan for a place outside of your neighborhood. Make sure everyone knows the addresses (and phone numbers) for all meeting locations.
- Make sure kids are comfortable with anyone who they may need to contact if separated during emergencies. This could include family friends who are emergency contacts, but also first responders. Also ensure that these people know that they are listed as an emergency contact for your family.
- The whole family should help build emergency kits, and there should be one for every family member. If you make changes to the kit or move it, make sure everyone knows. Also make sure everyone knows the location of other emergency items in the house, such as the fire extinguisher.
- Address questions and concerns, especially from kids. Ensure them that your family is prepared for any disaster you may face.
- FEMA: Planning with your family
- FEMA: Planning with kids
- Red Cross: Planning
- Texas Ready: Practicing Your Plan