How to Create an Effective Family Disaster Plan

How to Create an Effective Family Disaster Plan


Disasters can strike at any time, and being prepared is the best way to protect your family. A comprehensive family disaster plan ensures that everyone knows what to do, where to go, and how to stay in touch during an emergency. Here’s how to create an effective family disaster plan.

Step 1: Identify Potential Disasters

Start by identifying the types of disasters that are most likely to occur in your area. These could include natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and tornadoes, as well as human-made disasters like fires, chemical spills, or terrorist attacks.

Step 2: Develop an Evacuation Plan

Evacuation Routes:

  • Identify multiple evacuation routes from your home in case one is blocked.
  • Choose a primary and secondary meeting place where family members can reunite if separated.

Step 3: Establish Emergency Contacts

Out-of-State Contact:

  • Select an out-of-state contact person who can relay information between separated family members.

Local Contacts:

  • List local emergency contacts, including neighbors, friends, and relatives who can assist in an emergency.

Step 4: Create a Communication Plan

Communication Methods:

  • Discuss how your family will communicate during an emergency (e.g., text messages, social media, phone calls).
  • Establish a family member check-in schedule to ensure everyone is accounted for.

Step 5: Prepare a Shelter-in-Place Plan

Safe Room:

  • Designate a safe room in your home where you can take shelter.
  • Ensure the room is stocked with necessary supplies, such as water, food, medications, and a first aid kit.

Step 6: Plan for Special Needs

Infants and Young Children:

  • Include supplies and care instructions for infants and young children.

Seniors and Individuals with Special Needs:

  • Ensure that medications, mobility devices, and other necessary items are readily available.


  • Plan for the care of pets, including food, carriers, and veterinary contact information.

Step 7: Practice Your Plan

Regularly practice your family disaster plan to ensure everyone knows what to do. Conduct drills for different scenarios, such as evacuations and shelter-in-place situations.


Creating an effective family disaster plan takes time and effort, but it is a crucial step in ensuring your family’s safety during an emergency. By preparing in advance, you can reduce the impact of disasters and help keep your loved ones safe.

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