Here are some steps you should take when creating your family's disaster plan.
- First, meet with your family to discuss what you need to prepare for earthquakes and fires; explain the dangers of earthquakes and fires to your children, and plan to share responsibilities and work together as a team.
- Locate two "safe spots" inside each room per type of disaster
- Pick two places to meet. One should be outside of your home in case of fire; the other should be outside of your neighborhood, in case you can't return home. Every family member should know the address and phone numbers of your meeting places.
- Designate an out-of-state friend to be a "family contact". After a disaster, long distance phone service is usually restored before local service, so family members should call the "family contact" to check in with their location.
- Talk with your family about what to do in an evacuation. Locate two exit routes out of each room; practice evaluating, and plan on how to take care of your pets.
- Show each family member how to shut off the gas, water, and electricity valves in your house—keep tools near the gas and water shutoff valves. Remember:only turn your utilities off if you suspect lines have been damaged or you have been instructed to do so by your utility company.
- Install fire extinguishers (approved for use in both regular and electrical fires) in your home and teach every family how to use them.
- Inspect your home for potential hazards; secure items that may break, fall, or obstruct an exit during an emergency.
- Print and fill out an emergency plan and have everyone in the family read and understand it.