How to Develop a Family Emergency Plan (Steps + Tips)

AllsWell Team

Table of contents:

If you're a family person, you will need to take care of many people in emergencies. So it's life-critical to educate your loved ones on how to behave when a disaster strikes. Thanks to this, you'll handle the danger collaboratively and work as a team.

But achieving such a streamlined response to emergencies requires thorough preparations. This article explains how to develop a well-laid-out emergency plan of action for an entire family.

What Is a Family Emergency Plan?

An effective home emergency plan determines the measures to ensure your family members' personal safety. Besides clear steps and responsibilities in an emergency scenario, the plan must specify options for temporary stay or shelter. It will allow you to face adversity with moderate stress and, more importantly, with lesser harm.  

When You May Need to Follow an Emergency Plan

When it comes to large-scale incidents like massive and fast-spreading fires, you should act with no delay and have a plan for it. The same is required for other catastrophes and natural disasters:

  • Floodings

  • Tornado and hurricane dangers

  • Wildfires

  • Earthquakes

  • Massive discharge of pollutants at nearby industrial facilities

However, having a clear plan for medical emergencies would also be immensely helpful. If you reside with an older relative who struggles with chronic disease, figure out how to assist them in case of acute onset.

Consider how long the average request time for an ambulance in your area is. Perhaps you should be ready to take matters into your own hands and transfer your relative to the nearest hospital if there's an urgency. As a part of a backup emergency plan of action, you can contact a reliable neighbor.

What Should a Family Emergency Plan Include?

To develop a feasible plan, you should determine the most likely emergency scenarios. So here are the key distinctions depending on the circumstances you might be in:

  • Medical emergency response. Health hazards at home and during hiking outdoors are completely different, and you need to be aware of the proper first aid protocols. Surroundings matter a lot, so evaluate the actual risks you and your family are subject to depending on your activities.  

  • Natural disaster preparedness. Natural disasters may be easier to prepare for than sudden emergencies (car accidents, home fires). There are public alert and early warning systems you can rely on. However, you should devise certain safety measures beforehand: keep a disaster kit ready and personal vehicle functional, locate the nearest emergency shelter, etc.

  • Dealing with car crash aftermath. Recent statistics demonstrate that the car accident rate is surprisingly higher in residential neighborhoods. Therefore, you should always be prepared. We recommend you go to our guide on car accident reporting apps to check how they can assist you in this.

  • Staying safe during a home invasion or break-in. Staying organized and level-headed in such situations will give you an advantage over an intruder. So create an emergency plan to keep yourself and family members distant from perpetrators. Your priority should be fleeing with family and requesting aid from law enforcers. 

How to Create a Home Emergency Plan: 5 Essential Steps

Here are some general guidelines you can base on when creating an emergency plan of action with family members. Get them involved in brainstorming, as everybody can have their opinions to speak out.

1. Stay Connected with Loved Ones

A disaster might occur while you're apart from the rest of the family. For such a case, there must be a way to notify each other of the distress you are in. Also, if force majeure keeps you separated for a while, you need to find a way to stay connected to check in with each other.

For immediate notifications, we recommend getting a personal safety alarm. Whether it would be a wearable device or mobile app – it's up to you, but GPS tracking is a must for such things. It will allow you to send alerts with your exact location.

Some other considerations for you:

  • Get your cell phones fully charged before severe weather strikes.

  • If there's no service on your phone or your loved one cannot receive a call, try to communicate online: send an email or a text message through social media. 

  • Contact your local Red Cross chapter to inquire about family members. Your relatives can also check in at the Red Cross's Safe&Well website or share "I'm Safe" statuses on their social media accounts via the official mobile app.

2. Make an Evacuation Plan

To be adequately reinforced against large-scale catastrophes, you need to define several places you can evacuate to. Also, work out alternate routes, as some might be impossible or dangerous to use because of ravaging nature.

We recommend you look into:

  • Community emergency shelters nearby

  • Places where you can temporarily stay with pets

  • Recovery centers facilitated for people with special needs and disabilities

  • Local official's instructions on evacuation

  • Alternative routes you might take if leaving on a personal vehicle won't be an option.

It's immensely important to track official statements on hazards on the road. So have your radio tuned to local stations and be exceptionally careful at the wheel. Also, before leaving, shut down the water and gas supply, and switch off the electricity if you have time.

3. Prepare an Emergency Backpack

An emergency kit should include essentials like:

  • Water. Stock at least 1 gallon per person per day.

  • Food. Only originally packed non-perishable provisions: canned food, highly nutritious bars, etc.

  • Light. Pack at least two flashlights and one lantern. Don't forget about spare batteries, charging adapters, and power banks.

  • First aid kit. Stock an extra medication you or your relatives continuously take besides compulsory med kit items.

  • Supplies for sanitation. Moist wipes, garbage bags, etc.

  • Repair tools and supplies. You may put a can opener, swiss knife, and duct tape.

  • Emergency whistle. Have at least one to signal for help.

Another important thing about an emergency plan of action is to take photos of your documents. Take snapshots of insurance policies, IDs, medical records, and pet id cards. It's generally advisable to store all the important papers and cash in a single airtight plastic bag even when you don't expect an emergency that will force you to evacuate.

4. Practice Your Plan

Revise your preparations: try the personal alarm devices in action, and see if you need to update an emergency contact list. You must also teach small kids how to report to emergency services as they can face situations when they need to request help from authorities.

It would also be helpful to drive through the evacuation route determined in the home emergency plan. Maybe you'll find some flaws in it.

5. Know How to Apply for Family Emergency Leave 

Inquire how to submit papers for family emergency leave. Do it in advance to prevent conflicts with your bosses after you pass through the acute phase and be ready to return to work. Remember the must-does for emergency leave, whether it is a letter or a call:

  • Address in person to your direct supervisor

  • Be concise and polite

  • Provide necessary details only

  • Specify when you expect to return to work

  • Outline how you manage to delegate your work responsibilities to colleagues. 

Protect Your Family in Emergencies With AllsWell Alert

Integrating an easy-to-use personal safety app into your home emergency plan would grant you immediate response in dangerous situations. AllsWell Alert app provides you with:

  • Globally available emergency notifications through email and text messages.

  • Two options to send an SOS alert: by pressing an SOS button or automatic triggering from inactivity monitoring.

  • Fast and easy setting of emergency contacts.

  • Battery-saving background GPS tracking.

Set the foundation for your family's collective safety monitoring today – sign up for AllsWell's free 30-day trial! Download the app from an AppStore and Google Play without installation fees.

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