July 16, 2018

Husky Habits | #19 – Develop a Family Emergency Plan

If disaster were to strike, would you and your family be ready? Many of us Huskies have disaster and/or business continuity plans here at the UW, but making a family emergency plan is a very important step in increasing disaster resiliency too. Take time to meet with your family or those you live with to make sure you’re on the same page about what to do in case of an emergency. In your plan, it’s key to:

  • Establish an out-of-area contact
    After a major emergency, the local phone system will be overloaded with calls, so your calls likely won’t get through to someone in the same regional area. Attempting to call loved ones could even delay the arrival of emergency assistance. Choose someone out of the state to check in with after an emergency, and tell your family to do the same. If you must reach someone locally, choose texting over calling to minimize your impact on the phone lines.
  • Get to know the emergency plans of your children’s school, childcare and pet daycare
    Being separated from your children or pets during an emergency can cause concern and panic, but knowing the plans of their school or daycare can give some peace of mind. They should have designated pick-up points, up-to-date emergency kits, and plans for contacting parents and pet owners. Ensure that your children are also aware of these plans.
  • Locate a meet-up-point
    If you and your spouse and/or older children spend your days in different parts of the city, consider setting a location in which you could all meet after a major disaster if communication isn’t available. It might be your home, or perhaps a meeting point in the middle of everyone’s school and workplaces, or maybe at a grandparent’s house.
  • Create emergency kits
    Prepare kits for your family that will be sufficient for a minimum of 72 hours, but ideally for 2 weeks. Include water, nonperishable food, medical supplies, blankets, cash and other important items. A good list can be found on the UW Emergency Management website. Make sure you have kits ready for your home, your car and your workplace.

Although the appropriate response to a major emergency will greatly vary depending on the type of emergency that occurs, nailing down the basics with your family or housemates will help you all remain calm and safe during disaster. Don’t forget to update and review your plan at least once a year!

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