Families can cope with disasters by preparing in advance and working together as a team. If something were to happen, how would you contact one another, how would you get to a safe place, and what would you do in different emergency situations? Planning what to do before a disaster strikes provides the best protection for you and your family.
The Catasauqua Emergency Management Agency has made it simple for you to make a family emergency plan. Download the Family Communication Plan from Ready.gov and fill out the sections before printing it or emailing it to your family and friends. Have all family members keep a communications card from the plan handy in a wallet, purse, or backpack.
You should inquire about emergency plans at places where your family spends time: work, daycare and school, faith organizations, sports events and commuting. If no plans exist, consider volunteering to help create one. Talk to community leaders, your colleagues, neighbors and members of faith or civic organizations about how you can work together in the event of an emergency. You will be better prepared to safely reunite your family and loved ones during an emergency if you think ahead and communicate with others in advance.
Other tips for your Family Emergency Plan:
Identify an out-of-town contact, such as a friend or relative, who family members can call to let them know they are safe. It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, because phone lines can be jammed. An out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members.
Teach your family members how to text. It may seem like second nature to some of us, but not everyone texts. During an emergency it’s often easier to get a text message delivered rather than a phone call.
Subscribe to the various emergency alert messages used by the Borough of Catasauqua to receive the latest information.
Post emergency telephone numbers by home phones or save them in your cell phone (fire, police, ambulance, etc.).
Teach children how and when to call 911 for help.
Determine the best escape routes from your home. Find two ways out of each room.
Find the safe spots in your home for each type of disaster. For example, during an earthquake you would want to practice drop, over, and hold out under a sturdy desk or table. During a tornado, you would want to seek shelter in a lower level room without windows.
Show each family member how and when to turn off the water, gas, and electricity at the main switches. Teach each family member how to use the fire extinguisher, and show them where it’s kept.
Practice your plan by quizzing your kids periodically and conduct fire and other emergency drills.
Check your emergency supplies throughout the year to replace batteries, food, and water as needed. Update your emergency plan periodically to be sure all phone numbers are still correct.
Check if you have adequate insurance coverage to cover possible flooding or structural damage to your home and property. Renters should also have insurance for their contents in a rental property.
Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms. Test and recharge your fire extinguishers and smoke detectors according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Install at least one battery–powered or battery back-up carbon monoxide alarm in your home, preferably near bedrooms. Test the battery at least twice a year, when you change the time on your clocks.