When a disaster happens, your family may not be together in one place. You need to pick places to meet, have contact information for everyone, and discuss in advance what you will do during various types of emergencies. Depending on the type of emergency, you may shelter in place, move to a shelter or safe haven, or evacuate.
Making a plan includes two main components that prepare you for hazards in your locality and enhance your personal readiness, as well as that of your family: (1) a written emergency plan and (2) a written communication plan.
(1) A written emergency plan
A written emergency plan is used to formalize your preparations. In reading the plan, everyone in the family should understand what to do, where to go, and what to take in the event of an emergency. Your plan needs to take into account special concerns such as caring for very young and very old family members, protecting your property, retaining critical personal and financial records, and caring for your pets.
(2) A written communication plan
An effective communication plan is a written record (a sheet or card) that instructs each member of the family who to call and how to communicate critical information, such as location and status with each other in an emergency.
The navigation links under Make a Plan lead to a wealth of useful information to help your family develop plans for emergencies and prepare for various actions you could have to take. In particular, note the ready-to-use forms for a Family Emergency Plan and Contact Cards, as well as the Home Escape Plan Worksheet.