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PREPARE A FAMILY DISASTER PLAN

Having a family or household disaster plan is essential.  It is important that all adults know this plan, and that children know what to do in case the plan needs to be put in place.  You should have a two-level plan, including directions if you plan to stay at home and instructions should evacuation be necessary.  Here is what we recommend you have planned for both cases.  In many of the below listed items, it is best to assign a member of the family or household to certain chores ahead of time, so that things move more efficiently when the time comes to put the plan in action.

The First Steps

  • Discuss, as a family or household, the types of hazards that could affect you.  Know your home’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding, and wind damage.
  • Identify the safest area of your home for protection from hurricane hazards.  Make sure all members of the family or household know this place and can access it.
  • Make sure all family members know where the community shelters are and how to get there.  Make sure adults know which children they are responsible for getting to the shelter.
  • Check your insurance coverage to make sure you’re properly covered.  Typically, flood damage is not covered on a standard homeowner’s policy.
  • If you have a friend or family member out of the evacuation area, designate them as your family contact, and notify them that you have done so.  This way, if you get separated, there is just one person to call and check in with, who can update the rest of the family easily.
  • It is recommended that adults get first aid training and CPR certification, and take disaster preparedness classes if available in your area.
  • Make sure all adults have photo ID cards to include in your disaster supply kit.  You might also want to include photos of your children, so make sure you update them frequently.
  • Begin to gather supplies for your disaster supply kit, and assign certain chores to family members in the event of an approaching storm.  Keep a list of chores in an easily accessible place.
  • Remember to include pets in your planning, and be prepared to gather supplies and make arrangements for them should the need arise.

When the Threat of a Storm Approaches

  • Decide whether you will evacuate or stay.  Always be prepared to leave should you be required to evacuate.
  • If you are staying, plan to remain indoors (or arrive at your community storm shelter) no later than the expected arrival time of tropical force winds. 
  • Remember that if you live in a mobile home, it is always best to evacuate.
  • State law may require you to leave if you are in an area that is under an official evacuation order.
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