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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Your Family Emergency Plan

Do you have a plan? If you don’t, you need to write one and now is a great time. I’ve often thought it over in my head, playing out several possible scenarios. I’ve committed this week to writing these thoughts down and reviewing the plan with all involved parties - even the kids.

I’m lucky because I have wonderful in-laws that care for my kids, either all day or after school. Unfortunately their home is about 12 miles from my home and workplace. So, considering that something BIG happens like a major earthquake, I’ve let my in-laws know to stay put and we’ll come to them. What if there’s a major evacuation though? I’ve selected two meet-up points one a few miles away and the other out of state. I’ve also considered that staying put may be the safest alternative to evacuating. I need to work out the communication details though. It’s often said that text messaging should work even if cell service is out, but really I need to consider all possibilities ahead of time. It may be that we cannot reach each other for a number of days and I want to be sure my family knows what to do.

Another problem that I face is the fact I live in a highly populated area with large mountain ranges bordering one side and the Pacific Ocean the other. There are only so many choices. If there’s a major earthquake here, freeways may be closed. It’s always good to have two different routes, and even a third option mapped out ahead of time. You can keep your written plan, along with detailed maps in a ziploc bag in the front pocket of your survival bags. It’s good to review this plan twice a year to make sure your routes haven’t closed and that everyone knows what the plan is.

It would also be good while developing this plan to familiarize yourself with your children’s school’s policies. Some schools go immediately into lock-down and your kids won’t be released, others will expect you to pick them up as soon as possible. Check this out and if you don’t agree with their policy, plan how you may work around it. Maybe if you sign a waiver they will agree to an open door policy - and there may be other options.

Keep in mind that if you’re prepared you can act quickly and be one of the first on the road out of danger. Second guessing and waiting for instructions will ensure you’re in a very long line headed out of the danger area. Keep your car gas tank full - this is something I constantly remind myself of - I don’t want to be stuck in a long line for gas when everyone else is getting on the road ahead of me.

Be prepared, develop a family plan this week and have some peace of mind that in an emergency you’ll know what to do and reach safety as soon as possible.


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