Making a Family Emergency Plan

A Ready Family meets in their planned meeting place. 090528-N-5586R-072

One of the most important tools every individual and family can have to protect themselves in possible emergencies is a family emergency preparedness plan, complete with a list of contacts during an emergency. As you plan ahead about what to do during an emergency, be sure to take into account any members of your family with special needs, specific preparations for children, and what you will do with your pets. As part of your planning, you should make copies of and safeguard specific personal and financial records. Also, take any actions necessary to prepare your property. Everyone in the family should understand what to do, where to go, and what to take in the event of an emergency.

Be Informed

  • Find out what disasters are most likely to happen in your area and the history of their occurrence.
  • Stay informed of any specific instructions or information you may need to know regarding these specific disasters.
  • Subscribe to alert services that will send instant texts or emails to let you know about bad weather, road closings, local emergencies, etc.

Make a Written Evacuation Plan

  • As a family, discuss where you will go in the event of an emergency.
  • Discuss where your children will go if they are in school or daycare at the time of the emergency, and make sure they understand where you will intend to be.
  • Your plan should also address the needs and care of small children, family members with special needs, and pets, as well as safely shutting off utilities.

Make a Written Family Communications Plan

  • Create a comprehensive plan as a family for communicating in the event that you are separated during an emergency.
  • Create a sheet or card with all the phone numbers and information every individual in the family may need, and make sure every member of the family has a copy of the communications plan.
  • Be aware that in the event of an emergency, phone lines and cell phone towers may be overloaded or out. You can try using text messaging if normal communication options are not available. It would be good to have a contingency plan for reaching each other.
  • Ensure every member of your family has a cell phone, coins, or a prepaid phone card in order to connect with your emergency contact during emergencies.
  • Establish an out-of-state, in-case-of-emergency (ICE) name and number that everyone in your family has a copy of.
  • Save the ICE information in everyone’s cellular phone.
  • File a copy of emergency contact information with the command ombudsman and the command. Place this form in a sealed envelope with your signature across the seal. This will be opened only in case of emergency.


Ready-to-use Family Emergency Plan and Emergency Contact Cards form

Home Escape Plan Worksheet

Practice Your Plan

  • Set up practice evacuations or shelter-in-place drills at least twice a year for your family to ensure everyone knows what to do and where to go in the event of an emergency.
  • Update your plan according to any issues that arise.
  • Keep your emergency supply kit up to date, replacing water and perishables periodically. Make sure everyone knows where it is and to take it when sheltering or evacuating.
  • Check your smoke alarms regularly.

Build an Emergency Kit

  • To fully prepare your family for an emergency, create one or more emergency kits that include enough supplies for at least three days.
  • These kits will enable you and your family to respond to an emergency more quickly.
  • It is advisable to keep a small amount of cash or traveler’s checks at home in your kit or a safe place where you can quickly access them in case of evacuation. ATMs and credit cards may not work during a disaster.

Consider an Emergency Savings Account

  • Consider saving money in an emergency savings account that could be used in a crisis.

After a Declared Emergency

  • After a declared emergency, register your needs with the Navy through the Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System (NFAAS) at or call 1-877-414-5358 or 1-866-297-1971 (TDD).

Where to Find Additional Information


Be Ready Navy—Be informed before, during, and after an incident; make a written family emergency plan; and build an emergency supply kit good for at least three days.

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