Create a Family Emergency Plan
While it’s never pleasant to think about the possibility of a natural disaster or other
catastrophe striking, you can gain peace of mind by taking some time to prepare
for the unexpected. By creating a plan in advance, you can make sure that you
and your family evacuate quickly and safely with the most important things you
A smart way to get started: fill out the
How to Build an I.C.E. Pack in Case of Emergency and keep it in a safe place outside your home.
This helpful tool lets you document your personal records, such as insurance policies and financial
accounts, so you have quick access to this information if something happens to
you or your home.
Five More Tips to Follow:
1. Identify the top risks to your area.
Learn about the types of disasters most likely to occur where you live by contacting
your state’s office of emergency management. Then go to the Department of
Homeland Security’s Ready.gov website and become informed about what actions
to take to protect yourself in specific situations. You’ll find information on what
to do in the event of an earthquake, a hurricane, a tornado or even an act of
2. Hold a family meeting.
You should discuss your evacuation route and establish a meeting place, in case
family members become separated. Consider any special needs that your loved
ones may have, too, such as disabilities or medication needs, and discuss how
you can assist each other. Finally, designate a contact person in a different part
of the country who can coordinate communication if necessary. The Federal
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggests that every family member
carry a wallet-sized card, available at Ready.gov, with essential emergency contact
3. Put together a disaster kit.
Get a plastic container and stock it with a first-aid kit, flashlights, batteries, blankets
and enough non-perishable food and water for a few days. Make sure you refresh
supplies every year.
4. Assemble important financial papers.
Ideally, you’ll keep these papers — insurance certificates and other vital
documents — in a watertight, fireproof safe or a safety deposit box. That way,
if you need to file a claim, you can get the process started swiftly. You can also
scan important documents like driver’s licenses, Social Security cards, and tax
statements and upload them online for safekeeping.
5. Make an inventory of your possessions.
Spend an hour going through your house, documenting your belongings with a
camera or smart phone. That way you’ll have a record of anything you may lose or
that may be damaged in an emergency.
Ensuring a safe, happy future
Ensuring a safe, happy future
You may have life and disability insurance in place to make sure you and your family are taken
care of in the event of illness, injury or loss of life. Think of your family’s emergency plan
as an additional insurance policy that lets you go about day-to-day life with less worry. You
have taken every step to ensure a safe, happy future for yourself and your loved ones.