Steps to Take to Safety

1. Create a Family Disaster Plan
Get together with the family to discuss why you need to prepare for an emergency or disaster. Remember, a disaster to your family could be a house fire. Explain the dangers of fire, severe weather and other hazards to children in a non-threatening way. Plan ahead to share responsibilities and work together as a team.
  • Ask an out-of-state friend or family member to be your "family contact." Make sure all family members have this person's name and telephone number. After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Each family member should call this person to tell them where they are.
  • Discuss with the family what disasters are most likely to happen and what to do in each case.
  • Meet with your neighborhood to talk about developing a neighborhood disaster plan.
  • Pick 2 emergency meeting places and make sure everyone knows where they are:
    • One should be right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency like a fire.
    • The second should be outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home or are evacuated.
  • Talk about what to do if the power goes out.
  • Talk about what you'll do in the event of an evacuation.
2. Complete This Checklist
  • Check to see if your home and its contents are fully insured especially for flood damage. Most homeowners policies do not cover floods!
  • Find 2 routes out of every room in your home.
  • Get a fire extinguisher and make sure everyone knows how to use it and where it's kept.
  • Install smoke detectors on each level of your home especially near bedrooms.
  • Post emergency numbers by the phones.
  • Put together a disaster supplies kit.
  • Show everyone how and when to turn off the water, gas and electricity at the main switches.
  • Take a first-aid and CPR class.
  • Teach children how, and when, to dial 911.
  • Turn off the utilities only if told to do so by emergency officials or if you are sure the lines are damaged. If you turn the gas off, a professional must turn it back on to avoid the possibility of an explosion or gas leak.
3. Practice & Maintain/Update Your Plan
  • Conduct fire and emergency evacuation drills.
  • Quiz the kids every 6 months so they'll remember what to do.
  • Replace stored water in your Disaster Supplies Kit every 3 months and replace stored food every 6 months.
  • Test and recharge your fire extinguisher(s) according to manufacturers instructions.
  • Test smoke detectors monthly and change batteries twice a year.