We often stress the importance of having an emergency plan as a family.
In an ideal world, we’ll have enough warning before SHTF to gather our family together and prepare ourselves. But in reality, things can go from Picnic in the Park to SHTF in the blink of an eye – and you can’t count on being with your family when it does.
So what happens then?
Unfortunately, the most likely scenario is everyone panics, doesn’t know where the rest of the family is or is going, and gets lost. And then everyone will expend valuable time and energy frantically trying to find the lost member.
That’s time and energy that could go toward other important endeavors, such as fortifying defenses or setting up shelter.
This is what a family emergency plan is for. It ensures all family members know where to go when SHTF… and how to get hold of you if they can’t get there by themselves.
There’s more to a family emergency plan than just that, of course.
Let’s go through a quick step-by-step guide to help you create your family’s emergency plan. And to make things even easier, we included a template for you to use and follow!
Page 1 of your Family Emergency Plan has everything to do with the contact details for your household members.
Make sure your home telephone number and address are at the top of the page.
We’ve included enough space for the details of up to 5 family members. If you have a bigger family, you can simply duplicate the page!
Include each family member’s name, their mobile number, any alternative number they have, and an email address. Finally, make note of any other important information, such as medical conditions.
On Page 2 of your Family Emergency Plan, you have enough space to include the important information of up to 5 schools, childcare services, caregivers, and/or workplaces.
It’s very important you have this information on hand at all times.
Start with the place/person’s name and number, address and website URL (if applicable). Most places will also have a separate emergency hotline, so get that information in advance and add it to your Family Emergency Plan.
Finally, all public buildings and workplaces have emergency assembly points. Make note of where it is – or, if there are multiple, the one your family member is most likely to use.
Page 3 is dedicated to making sure everyone in your family knows who to contact in case of emergency.
This is the first entry on the page. It could be someone in your household or a trusted friend/family member. Make sure to include their name, mobile number, an alternative contact number, email, and address.
You also need to make sure if you can’t get hold of anyone in your own town/city, or a family member is traveling out of town, that there’s someone you can contact. This is, appropriately, your Out of Town Emergency Contact. Again, it could be a trusted friend or family member.
Include this person’s name, numbers, email address, and physical address.
Family Emergency Assembly Points
The second half of Page 3 of your Family Emergency Plan allows you to ensure everyone knows where to meet the rest of the family when SHTF.
Include an Indoors location for your home. This is in case of natural disasters, like tornadoes or hurricanes. It should also be able to double as a Safe Room in case your home is attacked by looters.
Next, pick a safe In Neighborhood location easy to get to. This is in case SHTF in such a way that you’re required to leave your home – for example, if a fire breaks out. Your In Neighborhood Family Emergency Assembly Point can be anything – the big tree at the end of your block, a friendly neighbor’s driveway, etc.
You’ll also need a safe Out of Neighborhood location! This is in case you’re away from home when SHTF and you’re unable to safely return. Once again, it should be fairly iconic/familiar to all family members, as well as easy to get to. Common examples include a library, place of worship, or a friend’s home.
Finally, you need an Out of Town Family Emergency Assembly Point. There are a couple reasons you might end up needing one:
- You can’t reach your Home, In Neighborhood, or even Out of Neighborhood locations
- Your community has been instructed to evacuate the area, but you haven’t been able to meet up with your family yet
Once again, pick somewhere fairly easy to get to and somewhere everyone in the family is at least relatively familiar with. An out-of-town family member’s home is always ideal, but a friend’s place or any other landmark building is just as good if need be.
Other Important Numbers
Page 5 has space for all the other important numbers you or a family member might need to call. All you need to do is go through the list and make sure you have all the contact details relevant to you and your family.
For example, if you don’t have any pets, you can skip the Veterinarian and Kennel sections.
Finally, the last entry points are dedicated to Alternative Transport and any 2 other people you feel it might be important for your family to be able to contact in an emergency.
How to Use Your Family Emergency Plan
There’s no point in spending time gathering all the information you’re putting into your Family Emergency Plan if your family doesn’t know how to use it!
The best solution is to have a family meeting and give each household member their own copy. This way, you can go through the plan together and make sure everyone knows what it is. Invite everyone to ask clarifying questions if they’re unsure of anything in your emergency plan.
Most importantly, stress how crucial it is for them to always have their copy near at hand. They don’t have to walk around clutching it tightly to their chest all day! But they should be able to pull your Family Emergency Plan out at a moment’s notice.
School lockers aren’t as good an idea as you might think, so make sure your children know to keep their copy in their backpack instead.
Finally, practice using your Family Emergency Plan together. The same way schools (and many workplaces) run fire drills, you need to run SHTF drills! Agree on a time and date that isn’t going to interfere with anyone’s school or work attendance, but make sure everyone is where they would normally be.
Obviously, you don’t want to call emergency services unnecessarily. But you should practice communicating with each other and getting your Family Emergency Assembly Point(s).
Pro tip for communicating via mobile phone during a SHTF situation: the network is probably going to be very busy, possibly even temporarily down. This can make phone calls next to impossible. Text messages are much better, as they use less bandwidth. Plus, if the network is temporarily down, a text message will still send once it comes back up again!
Are you and your family prepared? Don’t delay – use our FREE downloadable template to create your Family Emergency Plan today!