Woohoo! We’re here – Part One of my Five Steps to Emergency Preparedness Program: Make an Emergency Plan.
Making your emergency plan is a family affair, so make a night of it. Get some pizza (and wine for the grownups), some paper and pens and get creative. If you didn’t get your hands on a handy-dandy PreparedBC Household Emergency Plan fillable booklet at the Village of Pemberton’s Emergency Preparedness Week Open House last weekend I have left a stash at the Municipal Hall (7400 Prospect Street) for your planning pleasure.
Or, if you’re more of an online wiz, there are plenty of great resources to get your emergency plan together in no time, like the Get Prepared Family Emergency Plan that will take you no more than 20 minutes to fill out AND you can print it off when you’re done. I’d still recommend the pizza and wine accompaniment.
There are some key pieces of information that your plan should include:
- Emergency Exits: Include where and how to safely exit your home, you can make a list or even draw a map of your home and mark down exit routes.
- Shelter-In-Place: In some cases, you may be required to shelter-in-place. This means you’ll need to stay in your home and rely on the emergency provisions in your kit. Decide on a room that you and your family will use in this situation so that everyone goes to the same place in your home.
- Family Meeting Place: Decide on a place outside your home where you will meet your family if you are separated during an emergency. You could even describe the routes you might take to get to this location if you are coming from work or school.
- Home Safety: Describe the location of your emergency kit or kits in your home. You can also include information about where the water valve, gas valve and electrical box are located in your home.
- Health: Address any health needs you and your family may have, including medical conditions, allergies and any special needs.
- Emergency Contact: Include the name and contact information of a person who lives in a different town who can be your out-of-town emergency contact. This person will be your family’s point of contact should you be separated during an emergency. To make sure everyone has this phone number with them you can make contact cards to put into a wallet or backpack and save the number in everyone’s cell phone.
- Key Contacts: Include a list of important telephone numbers and addresses – like your family member contact details, the kids’ schools, your emergency contacts and the contact information of your neighbours.
- Pets: Don’t forget to include Fido in your emergency plans. The most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to take them with you if you need to evacuate. Not all public shelters and hotels will allow animals, so identify a relative or friend’s home, or a pet hotel or boarding facility that you can use.
- Make copies: Make copies of your emergency plan that can be kept in your car, or in your desk at work.
Once your plan is complete, keep it in a place that is easy to find (and easy to remember!), perhaps with your emergency kit or in your grab-and-go document folder (we’ll talk about this more in Step Three, coming up soon!)