Emergencies happen. Disasters happen. The unexpected happens. And you won’t always be with your loved ones when it it does. The question then, is how do you find one another quickly and safely? These 4 steps will help you figure that out now so that when the emergency comes, you will be ready for it.
- Consider the unique needs of each person in your family. If they have developmental disabilities, will a caregiver know where to take them to meet you? If someone has physical disabilities, do they have a reliable and safe way to travel to the meet up location? What about your pets? Will they be okay for a short evacuation, or is this a situation where you, or someone else in your group needs to go and get them? Now is the time to hammer out all of these details for various situations. You do not want to be trying to figure this out in the middle of a crisis.
2. Determine the most likely locations you and your family will be starting from in case of an emergency. Locations to include, for example, would be your home, your workplaces, the kids’ school, your usual grocery store, your church (if you have one), and anywhere you go for hobbies and entertainment. You will want to keep these locations in mind as you begin to work on routes for your emergency meet up plan.
3. How are you and your family going to get to your emergency meeting place? There are multiple scenarios to take into consideration with this step. You will need to know where you’re coming from and where you are going, which can change based on various scenarios. Each family member will need their own plan based on where they are when the emergency happens.
4. Where are you going to meet? There are four main categories to plan for that reach across a wide range of scenarios. You will want to make plans on how to get to each one.
Inside. This would be a place to gather to shelter from things like tornadoes, hurricanes, floods you cannot drive away from, or heavy winds. Some examples of a space to look for to gather during a storm would be an interior room with no windows and as low as it can be in your home. If you can go to the basement, go there (except in a flood). If you cannot go to your basement, try for a room on your lowest level of the home.
Near by. You will need to have a close place within walking distance that everyone in your family can access easily from home. You would need to get to this location if you have to quickly evacuate your home because of fire or invasion. You might consider a neighbor’s home, a big tree nearby, or a bus stop.
In town. If something happens and you can’t get back to your home it is vital to have a place in town that you can meet that is central to most of the people in your group. Three examples of times you may need this option could include an earthquake that damaged the road to your home, a mudslide that has damaged your house, or a wildfire on the other side of town. You might choose to congregate at a library, a friend or family member’s house, or a school.
Out of town. If you are told to evacuate the area, you will need a place away from your town that can offer you and your family safety. You may need to evacuate in the case of natural disastt