Published: September 28, 2016

    Family Emergency Checklist: Everything You Need

    An emergency or natural disaster can occur at any time. Once a hurricane hits or your power goes out you won’t have time to prepare and collect what you’ll need to survive comfortably until the emergency ends. It’s vital to take time now to get your family equipped with the resources they’ll need in an emergency situation.

    While that’s easy to suggest, many families aren’t sure how to begin to prepare for an emergency. How do you know what’s most important in an unpredictable event? Follow along for an emergency checklist that helps you prioritize and plan ahead.

    • Know Your Area – Determine what types of disasters and weather events are most likely to occur in your city, like floods, tornadoes, or earthquakes. Check Ready.gov if you’re unsure.
    • Create an Emergency Kit – Include the following: three day supply of water (one gallon per person per day), three day supply of nonperishable food, a flashlight, batteries, a can opener, garbage bags, moist towelettes, a whistle to call for help, a battery-powered radio, a first aid kit, a local map, and a wrench to turn off your utilities.
    • Pack Vital Medication – Depending on your family’s needs you may need to prepare medicine, baby formula, pet food and toys, diapers, spare eyeglasses, comfortable shoes, and a change of clothing.
    • Create An “Go” Bag – In case you and your family need to leave your house in a matter of minutes, create small essential bags with water, nonperishable food, a change of clothes, and a first aid kit that you can grab and carry with you immediately.
    • Plan an Evacuation Route – Plan at least two different paths to get out of your city, three if you live in a large metropolis. You’ll want alternate routes in case debris or weather has blocked certain routes.
    • Choose Family Meeting Spots – You may not all be together in one place when an emergency situation occurs. Pick a location near your home in case of a fire. Choose another spot in town in case you are scattered and need to meet up. If an evacuation is underway and you are separated have a third meeting spot planned out of town where you can meet once evacuated.
    • Choose an Emergency Contact – This person should be an out-of-town relative that can serve as a point person who can watch the news and keep all of your family updated in case you get separated.
    • Keep a Written List of Phone Numbers – Make a list of important phone numbers for every member of your family in case their smartphone is unusable or gone. Include family members, doctors, work associates, school front offices, health insurance representatives, and home insurance representatives on the list.
    • Record Personal Information – On the back of your phone numbers list, write each person’s date of birth, address, medical conditions, allergies, and blood type.
    • Know Your Child’s School Evacuation Plan – Call your child’s school and ask where children are evacuated in an emergency situation. Learn where you can pick them up and who to call in an emergency.
    • Hold a Family Meeting – Meet with your family to go over preparedness talking points. Make sure each member of your family knows what to do and where to go in an emergency situation.

    With this guideline you and your family can always be prepared for whatever life throws your way.