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Family Emergency Plans – Class Notes

Class Notes

As we work through the coming week, let’s continue our conversation, and our preparedness planning, with a focus on the importance of writing, posting, communicating, and practicing family emergency plans.

Family Emergency Plans

Here are 10 suggestions to help you get started!

1. Begin with the fundamentals. Focus in on those steps that are universal to a broad range of emergency circumstances. The initial steps may seem overly simple, and even obvious. Even so, reviewing and practicing these remains critically important. During the stress of an actual, realized emergency situation, we may not think as clearly as we do when the scenario is an exercise of our thoughts and imaginations.

Examples might include the following:

a) Seek immediate safety, and a safe and stabilized location.

b) Render first aid when possible and appropriate, and call emergency services for life saving support.

c) Communicate with family, friends and co-workers.

2. Include easy to read and process evacuation routes, meeting places, and important contact information.

3. Draft special instructions for emergencies that present unique circumstances – dangers or risks. Medical emergencies. Fire. Severe weather including winter storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Fallen trees or electrical lines. Bomb threats. Chemical exposure (chemical spills, plant explosions). Nuclear accidents or system failures. EMP. Acts of terrorism or war. Cyber attacks.

4. What are the special needs or circumstances of your family? Think about special health risks, necessary medicines or dietary considerations, the capacity of each individual to evacuate, the unique features of any location – or the relative locations of all the people in your group, access to transportation, and more. What special provisions should be a part of your plan to protect children, the elderly, and the disabled? Remember your family pets, and your farm and ranch animals.

5. Establish a system for early warnings. On what sources will you rely? Do you have a way to receive alerts throughout the course of a usual day, while on the road or in the air for travel? How should these be adjusted for alerts through the course of the night while you’re sleeping? What level of warning signal should trigger emergency action?

6. Create checklists – review and prioritize what you’ve included. Update these at least a couple times a year, and when there is any significant change to personal circumstances. Don’t forget your Bug-Out and Get-Home Bags!

7. Make MAPS part your emergency planning and resource development. These should include printed maps for your local area, city, state, region, and the country. You should also include basic printed maps that specifically address your evacuation routes, and can be quickly and easily referenced. Most emergency situations come with great time sensitivity. Keep this in your thinking at every level of planning and preparedness. Be prepared as well to help others. Having resources that cover places outside your specific locale may help you to be more aware of risks emerging in other areas, and may also help you guide someone else in need of help from a distance.

8. Expand your communications options. In addition to a cell phone and charger, keep and learn to use radios, wear a good quality whistle, and be able to use emergency signals like flares or even bright orange emergency roadside cones.

9. Put it all in writing, involve every member of your group in assessing draft-level ideas, revising and refining those. Practice, practice, practice. You can ‘run scenarios’ around the table in conversation, but should also work on ‘practice runs’ too. No doubt you’ll discover that there is always something to learn and consider further in the process actualized practice. What we have in our minds is not always a match to ‘real life’. Complicating this further… Emergency situations tend to be chaotic by their very nature – and don’t tend to unfold in expected ways! The ability to think and adjust quickly may save your life or the life of another.

10. Always keep safety in mind. Remember your objective is to ARRIVE ALIVE on the other side of any crisis, and to help others to do the same.

Additional Resources…

Posted at Red Cross: “Create Your Emergency Plan in Just 3 Steps”

Posted at Self-Reliance University: “A Simple & Easy Way To Create a Family Emergency Plan Today” with Nick Meacher

Posted at the CDC: “Emergency Action Plan” (Template)

Posted at The Provident Prepper: “Steps to Build a Successful Family Emergency Plan” By Kylene

Posted Ready.gov: “Make a Plan”

Thoughtful Quote to Share…

“By Failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

Recommended Reading…

U.S. Air Force Survival Handbook

U.S. Air Force Survival Handbook: The Portable and Essential Guide to Staying Alive
By The United States Air Force and Jay McCullough


How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It

How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies For Uncertain Times
By James Wesley, Rawles




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