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FAMILY PLANNING FOR EMERGENCY SITUATIONS. Mary Ann Bell Emergency Management Specialist Division of Emergency Preparedness and Coordination 301-496-1985. OVERVIEW. What is an Emergency Family Plan Planning and Training Family Disaster Supply Kit

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family planning for emergency situations


Mary Ann Bell

Emergency Management Specialist

Division of Emergency Preparedness and Coordination


  • What is an Emergency Family Plan
  • Planning and Training
  • Family Disaster Supply Kit
  • Sheltering-In-Place: what does it mean and what to do
  • Natural Disasters
    • Before
    • During
    • After
  • Pet Care
  • Emergency Notification System
  • Websites
what is an emergency family plan
What is an Emergency Family Plan

A plan to help you and your loved ones prepare before

a disaster strikes. This plan should be discussed and

practiced by everyone in the family. There are Six

Steps involved in planning:

  • Write a family disaster plan
  • Write and draw an evacuation plan
  • Learn safety plans at your work as well as the school
  • Prepare for fires
  • Assemble a disaster supply kit
  • Learn lifesaving skills

If you already have a floor plan of

your home, draw the escape routes

using a red marker, or you can draw

your home on graph paper as shown

by this NFPA planning guide.

Ensure that you show the outside

relocation area as well.

planning and training
Planning and Training

As a parent and family member one of the jobs you do best is provide a healthy,

safe and secure world for your family. But if you are like many other parents some

issues feel overwhelming and you would rather not worry about them. The

prospect of a disaster is one of those issues. All of us can prepare. A few simple

steps will help us to protect our families, assure that our children feel safe, and

make it easier to recover if and when we have to go through a disaster.

Pre-disaster planning and emergency readiness is a complex issue. Different types

of disasters may require different knowledge and skills as discussed previously.

Although each family needs to prepare in its own way, it is important that all

members, parents, and children, are provided with information that will help them

handle a disaster. It is also important to find out how your schools or daycare

providers handle these same emergencies.

Preparing for a disaster is something you can do, and everyone in the family has a role

in preparing – even the children.

family disaster supply kit
Family Disaster Supply Kit

Water – at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3-7 days

Food – at least enough for 3-7 days (ready-to-eat canned or packaged)

Manual can opener

Paper cups, plates and plastic utensils

Credit card and cash

Personal ID

Blankets, pillows, sleeping bags

Change of clothing, rain gear, and sturdy shoes for each family member

First Aid Kit/Medicines

Matches in a waterproof container

Special Items – for babies and the elderly


Flashlight with extra batteries

Radio – Battery operated and NOAA weather radio

Extra set of keys

Toys, Books and Games

Extra pair of glasses/contacts


Vehicle fuel tanks filled

Pet care items

Signal flare/glow sticks

Map of the area and important phone numbers

Important documents - Make two copies and keep the originals of the following in a safe

deposit box or waterproof container:

  • Wills, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, investments
  • Passports, social security cards, immunization records.
  • Bank account numbers/credit card account numbers
  • Inventory of valuable household goods
  • Family records (birth, marriage certificates)
sheltering in place what does it mean
Sheltering-In-Place:what does it mean

“Shelter-In-Place” (SIP) means to take immediate shelter where you are – at home, work,

school or in between. To provide safe locations inside buildings when conditions outside may pose a higher risk to the occupants than remaining inside in a sheltered environment. May be used in instances of violent weather, or when either accidental or intentional releases of hazardous materials may affect the outside environment. Sheltering-in-place is NOT an option when building evacuation is ordered.

  • Home
    • Choose a room in advance for your shelter. The best is one with no windows and has a door.
    • Contact your workplaces, your children’s school, nursing home or adult daycare center where you may have family and your local town or city officials to find out what their plans are for SIP.
    • Find out when warning systems, if any , will be tested. When tested in your area, determine whether you can hear or see sirens and/or warning lights from your home.
    • Develop your own family emergency plan so that every family member knows what to do. Practice it regularly.
  • Work
    • Help ensure that the emergency plan and checklist involves all employees. Primary and alternate team members should be assigned duties within this plan. The shelter kit should be checked on a regular basis.
    • Learn CPR, first aid and the use of the automated external defibrillator (AED) system.
sheltering in place what to do
Sheltering-In-Place:what to do

The appropriate steps depend on the emergency situation. If you hear a warning signal,

listen to local radio or television stations for further information.

  • Home
    • Bring children and pets indoors immediately. If your children are at school, do not try to bring them home unless told to . The school will shelter them (check with your school or daycare to find out more on their procedures).
    • Close and lock all outside doors and windows. Locking may provide a tighter seal.
    • If you are told there is danger of explosion, close the window shades, blinds or curtains.
    • Turn off the HVAC system(s) to your home. Turn off all fans, including bathroom fans operated by the light switch.
    • Close the fireplace damper.
    • Get you disaster kit available and turn on your radio.
    • Take everyone to your pre-designated area. Prepare a place for the pet to relieve themselves where you are taking shelter. Do not allow your pets outside during this time.
    • Call your emergency contact and keep the phone handy incase you need to report a life-threatening condition, otherwise stay off the phone and keep the lines open.
    • Keep listening to the radio or TV and do not evacuate unless instructed to do so.
    • When the emergency is over, open windows and doors, turn on ventilation systems and go outside until the building air has been exchanged with the now clean outdoor air.
sheltering in place what to do9
Sheltering-In-Place: what to do

Work – although your workplace should have SIP plans, they should include the


  • Your facility entrances/exits should be closed
  • A knowledgeable person should turn off all HVAC systems.
  • If possible, employees should call their emergency contact and let them know where they are and that they are safe.
  • If time permits, a message should be left on an answering machine to indicate that the business is closed and staff and visitors are remaining in the building until authorities advise it is safe to leave.
  • All employees to gather in their designated SIP areas.
  • Monitor the radio or TV for updated information or told all is safe and given the “all clear”.
  • A sign-in sheet should be made available in each SIP room. Visitors should be on a separate sheet from employees assigned to that building.
  • When the “all clear” is given, open windows and doors, turn on HVAC systems and go outside until the building’s air has been exchanged with the now-clean outdoor air.

School - If you have a child who attends school, it is important for you to contact your school

system administrators to understand what plans are in place to protect your child in the

event of an emergency. Be sure to keep the contact information for your child up to date.

natural disasters
Natural Disasters

Floodsare the most common and widespread natural disaster in the United States. Overflowing rivers from heavy rains, hurricanes pushing sea waters inland or heavy runoff from spring melts in the mountains all cause floods and threaten families and property.

  • Before:
    • Find out if you are in a flood zone
    • If you are prone to flooding in your area, have properly filled sandbags ready to stop rising water.
  • During:
    • Be ready to evacuate immediately. Floodwaters can rise quickly.
    • Stay away from flooded areas, even if the water seems to be receding
    • Do not walk, swim or drive through moving water
    • Watch for snakes in flooded areas
  • After:
    • Keep an eye on children and make sure they don’t play around high water, storm drains, ravines or culverts.
    • Throw away food exposed to floodwater.
    • Use water from safe sources.
    • Use caution before re-entering a home that has been flooded.
natural disasters11
Natural Disasters

Tornadoes - Advance planning and quick response are the keys to surviving a tornado.

  • Before:
    • Know the safe places at home, work, and school. Locate local shelters.
    • Practice drills at home and school
    • Have a plan for how family members will contact one another during an emergency. Establish an out-of-area contact who can coordinate family members’ locations and information should you become separated. Ensure that your children know this information.
    • Prepare a family disaster kit.
  • During:
    • Tornado Watch means to be alert and watch for the signs. Remain inside, away from windows and doors. Listen to the radio or TV. Keep a battery-operated radio or NOAA Weather Radio. Be alert during a thunderstorm watch – they can produce tornadoes.
    • Tornado Warning indicates that a tornado has been sighted. Listen to the radio or TV for weather updates and instructions. Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls. Be aware of flying debris.
      • If you are in a house or small building: move to the basement level or lower-level interior room such as a closet, bathroom, or interior hallway.
      • If you are in a mobile home/trailer: if time allows, move to a shelter or other building with a strong foundation.
      • In a vehicle: get out of the vehicle and go to a shelter or safe building. If none is available, lie flat in a ditch or another low-lying area.
      • At school: children should follow their teachers’ direction and the school’s tornado emergency plan.
  • After:
    • Continue to listen to the news and weather updates.
    • Stay away from the power lines and broken glass.
    • Be aware of the possibility of broken glass, broken gas lines or downed power lines.
natural disasters12
Natural Disasters
  • Hurricanes are huge tropical storms. The center of the storm is called an eye. It’s important to know what to do…
    • Before:
      • Have a disaster plan. Locate local shelters and map the route, this will cut down on the travel time.
      • Fill Automobile with gas.
      • If you are not ordered to evacuate, find shelter in your home. The safest place is an interior room without windows.
    • During: If a hurricane watch has been issued for your area, conditions are favorable for and could produce a hurricane. Listen to weather updates and make sure you leave if an evacuation is ordered. If a hurricane warning has been issued, a violent storm, possibly a hurricane, is expected within 24 hours.
      • Remain inside, away from windows and doors.
      • During power outages use flashlights.
      • Do not be fooled by the calm when the eye of the storm is above your area; the worst of the storm is probably yet to come.
      • If you are evacuated, take your disaster supply kit and leave immediately to a nearby shelter.
    • After:
      • Continue to listen to weather updates.
      • When the storm is over, damage can still exists from floods or downed power lines.
      • Obey detour and warning signs when driving. Never enter a flooded or barricaded roadway (even with a large vehicle).
natural disasters13
Natural Disasters
  • Severe Winter Storms – Blinding wind-driven snow, extreme cold, icy roads, avalanches and downed trees and power lines can all accompany winter storms. Communication lines can be cut off, and access to emergency and medical services may be severely limited once extreme weather has hit a region.
    • Before:
      • Have your car winterized.
      • Prepare disaster supply kit.
      • Establish an out-of-area contact.
      • Prepare your home for the winter months.
    • During: A winter storm watch means conditions are right for a severe storm to develop within 36-48 hours. Avoid going outside or traveling.
      • Listen to the radio or TV for the latest weather information
      • Review you family’s disaster plan.
      • Watch for changing weather conditions.
      • Move any pets or other animals to a sheltered area (make sure they have water)

A winter storm warning means a life-threatening severe winter storm has begun or will begin within 24 hours.

      • Listen for news and weather updates.
      • Dress in layers.
      • Implement your disaster plan regarding food, water and supplies if you are unable to go out for a prolonged period.
      • To conserve fuel, lower the thermostat to 65° F during the day and 55° F at night.
      • If the power goes out, you may be forced to find other means of keeping warm during the storm. Use only safe emergency heat sources.
    • After:Use common sense before going outside after a storm. Dress warmly in layers, and always wear a hat. Protect your lungs by covering your mouth. Continue to listen to the news and weather updates.
pet care
Pet Care

If you evacuate, avoid leaving family pet behind. Keep in mind that with the

exception of service animals, pets are generally not permitted in emergency

shelter for health reasons. For this reason, find out before a disaster occurs

what hotels allow pets. Determine where pet boarding facilities are located.

Create an emergency kit for your pet. This should include:

  • Identification tag and rabies tags should be worn on a collar at all times.
  • Carrier or cage.
  • Leash each pet during evacuation, if not contained in a carrier.
  • Any medications.
  • Newspapers and plastic bags for handling waste.
  • A supply of food, bottled water, and food bowls.
  • Veterinary records (for proof of vaccinations).

Remember, prepare before a disaster strikes. Your plan

should be discussed and practiced by everyone in the family.

The SixSteps are:

  • Write a family disaster plan
  • Write and draw an evacuation plan
  • Learn safety plans at your work as well as the school
  • Prepare for fires
  • Assemble a disaster supply kit
  • Learn lifesaving skills


Division of Emergency Preparedness and Coordination (DEPC):

NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) – Public Education:

American Red Cross:,1082,0_503_,00.html

Montgomery County Public Schools – Emergency Planning:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security: