Family Emergency Plan
Know what to do before you have to do it
Discuss these things with your family:
- WHAT will you do in an earthquake, flood, storm or volcanic eruption?
- WHAT will you take if you have to evacuate your home?
- WHAT should older children do if parents/care-givers aren't at home?
- WHO will look after your pets if you can't?
- WHO can do First Aid (in your family, neighbourhood, workplace)?
- WHO will collect the children from day care/school if you are unable to?
- WHERE would you all meet if you can't get home? Discuss if parents are at work and children at school.
- WHERE would you go to for help if the phones weren't working?
- WHERE do you turn off the power and water?
- WHERE do you get drinking water if the pipes are broken?
- ARE you part of a Neighbourhood Support Group?
- HOW would you get messages to other family members?
- KNOW where your Emergency Survival Kit is stored.
- KNOW how you can improvise cooking, lighting and toilet facilities.
Desirable things to have
- Shoes under the bed (to protect feet from broken glass).
- Fire extinguisher (know how to use it).
- Smoke alarm (check the batteries every six months).
- For people who are hearing impaired, consider a flashing light.
- Manual can opener.
- Gas barbecue.
- Extra eye glasses, hearing aid, mobility aids, etc (in case of damage).
- Extra blankets (with electricity out, you may not have heat).
- Develop a "buddy" system with family, friends, neighbours, or co-workers. Plan how you will help each other in an emergency.
- Prepare an emergency Getaway kit that you could grab and take with you if there is a need to evacuate. Include necessary medications, basic toiletries, any special sanitary aids, and a list of whom to contact in emergencies. (With phone numbers, addresses and date you wrote the list).
- Make a list of your medications, allergies, special equipment, doctor's number, and whom to contact in emergencies. People who have difficulty with communication should have other important information written out, such as special toilet needs, or how to lift or move them. Give a copy to each buddy, keep a copy with you, and put a copy in your Getaway kit (above).
- Make a plan with your personal caregiver. If you use a caregiver from an agency, see if the agency has special provisions for emergencies.
- Determine at least two usable exits from each room and from your building.
- Pick one out-of-district and one local friend or relative for family and others to call if separated. Identify a location where you can reunite with family/friends.
Tips During and After an Earthquake:
- If you are in a bed or out of a wheelchair, stay put and cover your head.
- If you are in a wheelchair, stay in it and go into a doorway that doesn't have a door. Put the brakes on and cover your head and neck with your hands.
- Be prepared for aftershocks. Turn on your portable radio for instructions.
Issues for Older Adults to Consider in Preparing for Earthquakes
- Keep important equipment in a convenient and secured place so you can quickly and easily locate it.
- Develop an emergency kit where extra hearing aids, batteries, eyeglasses etc are kept, to replace damaged or lost equipment.
- Store extra mobility aids (e.g. canes, crutches, walkers, wheelchairs) as a backup to primary equipment.
- If you have home care support, discuss with these people a plan for what you both will do in case of an emergency.
- A critical element to consider in emergency planning is the establishment of a personal support network or buddy system. This network can consist of friends, neighbours, relatives etc. Their job is to check with you in an emergency to ensure you are okay and to help where needed.
- Do not depend on any one person, but work out support relationships with several people.
- Will you be able to independently shut off the necessary utilities (water or electricity)?
- Can you operate a fire extinguisher?
- Write instructions for the following (keep a copy with you and share with your personal support network)
- How to operate and safely move any essential equipment you have.
- How to safely transport you if you need to be carried.
- How to provide personal assistance services (toilet, hygiene).
- How you will evacuate, and where you will go.
- Arrange and secure furniture and other items to provide multiple paths of escape.
- Consider and practice using alternate methods of evacuation.
- If lifts are out and you are above the first floor of a building and cannot use stairs, identify lifting and carrying techniques that will work for you.
- Writing down important life saving information is vital. Create an emergency health information card to tell rescuers what they need to know about you if you are unconscious, incoherent or if there is a need for your evacuation.
- The card should contain information about medications, equipment you use, communication, hearing or mobility difficulties, preferred treatment, medical providers and important contact people. Make multiple copies of this card to keep in your wallet, give to people in your personal support network, and display on your refrigerator.
- Other emergency contacts to list include members of your personal support network, equipment suppliers, doctors, family members, and utility companies. (Power, gas, water etc).
- In addition, store copies of family records, wills, deeds, social security number, charge and bank accounts etc in your emergency kit.
- It is vital that older people maintain a minimum of 12 litres of stored water - four litres per day for a three-day period (two litres for drinking, two litres for personal washing). Store water in sealed unbreakable containers that are easy to handle (e.g. two-litre easy to open bottles).
- Replace stored water with fresh water every six months.
- Check on them immediately after an emergency (earthquake), and offer personal assistance as needed.
- Have a spare copy of important keys.
- Know where emergency supplies are kept.
- Have copies of relevant emergency documents that specify medication, special equipment, and other life support needs.
- Have an agreed upon communications system regarding how to contact each other in an emergency. This plan should account for the fact that telephones may not work after a major earthquake.
- Know when each other will be out of town and the subsequent date of return.
- Learn about their personal needs and how to be of support in an emergency (e.g. interpreting, or making sure food, water, and medications are in place).
- Try to always maintain at least a 7 to 14 day supply of essential medications.
- Work with your doctor to obtain an extra supply of medication, or prescription.
- Ask if it would be safe to go without one dosage periodically, until you secure an adequate supply.
- Keep essential medications and copies of prescriptions with you.
Page reviewed: 11 Aug 2016 11:54am