We’re on the verge of severe weather season here in North Carolina, so it’s a good time to revisit or initiate your family’s emergency plan. This is the process to help your family members know what to do before, during and after an emergency. The key factors to consider include planning in advance for where your “safe places” are — inside your home, or in a designated place away from home, in the event family members are separated. Every home has areas that are inherently safer than others, such bathrooms and closets that are not adjacent to outer walls of the home. Make sure your family members know where to go in the event of severe weather and practice doing so.
You should also discuss how family members can get in touch with each other in case of separation. Other topics to cover can include discussion about how to care for older adults, infants, pets, and others that may need special assistance during and after emergencies. Many families also find it helpful to speak with neighbors and relatives in advance of severe weather situations. Sometimes it’s good to have a plan that covers more than just the immediate family.
Finally, you should create a formal document and make sure family members have copies they can easily access. Key elements the written plan should contain include —
- Phone numbers of a contact person that all family members can reach out to
- A list of resources where you can get emergency information, such shelter locations and official safety notices (radio stations, apps, websites)
- Contact information (phone numbers, emails, websites) for the schools, workplaces and other places your family regularly attends
Advance planning can be life-saving, and also make things easier for family members and first responders, in the event of dangerous conditions.