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Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to plan in advance: how you will contact one another; how you will get back together; and what you will do in different situations. Family emergency planning can be key in surviving an emergency. That's why it's important to talk to your family to prepare them for various emergencies. Ensure the whole family is a part of the planning process so that the plan addresses everyone's needs. Recognize that in extreme situations, city emergency resources may be limited. Be prepared to care for yourself and your family for at least 3 days.

Use the New Online Family Emergency Planning Tool created by the Ready Campaign in conjunction with the Ad Council to prepare a printable Comprehensive Family Emergency Plan:

Use the New Quick Share application to help your family in assembling a quick reference list of contact information for your family, and a meeting place for emergency situations:

You may also want to inquire about emergency plans at places where your family spends time: work, daycare and school. If no plans exist, consider volunteering to help create one. Talk to your neighbors about how you can work together in the event of an emergency. You will be better prepared to safely reunite your family and loved ones during an emergency if you think ahead and communicate with others in advance.


  • Designate a location to meet in case it is impossible to return home or if you have to evacuate. Choose two - one near your home and one outside the neighborhood. Make sure your family knows the address and phone number of both locations.

  • Designate on an out-of-area contact person. This person should be far enough away that it is unlikely he or she would be affected by the same emergency. Family members should call this person to report their location if they cannot reach each other. Provide your contact person with important names and numbers so they can assist in keeping others posted on your situation.

  • Create an Emergency Supply Kit. Make sure that all members of your household know where these supplies are.

  • Keep a flashlight and a pair of shoes by each bed.

  • Determine the best escape routes from your home. Identify at least two separate escape routes and practice using them.

  • Locate your gas main and other utilities. Make sure the entire household knows where they are and how to operate them.

  • Familiarize yourself with emergency plans at places that are a part of your everyday life, such as school, work, church, daycare, etc.

  • Make sure your home is as safe and secure as possible.

  • While making your plan, consider the special needs of children, seniors, persons with disabilities, non-English speakers, and pets in your household.

  • Create communications card for each member of your household to keep with them at all times.

  • Download and complete a Family Communications Plan for parents and kids​.

  • Make copies of all important documents and keep them off-site in a secure location. Documents to include: passports, birth certificates, social security cards, wills, deeds, driver's licenses, financial documents, insurance information, and prescriptions.

  • Catalog and photograph valuables. Keep these with your second set of documents.

  • This second set of documents should be with your out-of-state contact or in a secure location.

  • This should be updated at least each year…if you can, when you get or sell a piece of furniture or add a child or send one away to college or they get married, consider updating your records then.



You can download an emergency contact card template here.

  • Print one card for each family member.

  • Write the contact information for each household member, such as work, school and cell phone numbers.

  • Fold the card so it fits in your pocket, wallet or purse.

  • Carry the card with you so it is available in the event of a disaster or other emergency.

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