Thursday, December 18, 2008

Resolve to be Ready…Take Time to Make a Plan

Here's a good article from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

For a New Year's resolution that's free and easy to do, consider this: take time to make sure your family has a plan in case of an emergency.

"Making a plan can make a big difference in how your family survives a disaster," said Michael Cline, state coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. "Resolutions are sometimes hard to keep, but making this decision could save the lives of your family members and protect your property."

Because families may not be together when an emergency happens, it is important to decide ahead of time how family members will get in touch with each other and where they will go and what they will do. People with written emergency plans are better prepared to handle emergencies and recover successfully from them.

Here’s what to do to make a family emergency plan:

  • Talk with your family about the hazards and likely threats for your area and what your family would do during an actual emergency.
  • Decide on a meeting place if your family cannot return home. Choose a neighborhood meeting place and another meeting place if you cannot get to your neighborhood. Also, if you have pets, choose a destination that accepts pets if you ever need to evacuate your home for any length of time.
  • Choose an out-of town friend or relative as an emergency point of contact. This is important because it may be easier to make a long distance phone call than to call across town. An out-of-town contact can help communicate among separated family members. Be sure everyone in your family has this person’s phone number.
  • If you are a parent, ask your schools and daycare providers how they will communicate with families during a crisis. Ask if they are prepared to "shelter in place" if needed and where they plan to go if they must leave.
  • Write down your family emergency plan. Get printable worksheets to make a plan at

    Ready Virginia is a statewide public outreach program to help residents learn what to do before and during emergencies. Visit for information on how to get a kit, make a plan and stay informed for all types of emergencies, including natural and human-caused disasters.

    In addition to a family plan, every Virginia family should put together an emergency supply kit with essential items to last at least three days. This includes – at a minimum – water, prepackaged and canned food, a working battery-powered radio and extra batteries, flashlights, and a first aid kit and medications, if needed.

    A companion Web site,, is available for those who speak Spanish.

    During an emergency, you will be better prepared to safely reunite your family and loved ones if you have a family plan. In 2009, resolve to be ready … make a plan now.