Make a Plan

Make a plan today. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area. Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find. Don’t forget to think about specific needs in your family, including the different ages of your family members, language and cultural or religious considerations, medical needs, pets or service animals, and any caregiving responsibilities you may have for someone outside the home. Your family’s needs change over time, so don’t forget to update your plan regularly.

Make preparedness a part of your daily routine by learning response skills like first aid and CPR, starting and building an emergency savings fund to cover the unexpected costs for a disaster, and reviewing insurance coverage for the hazards that could damage your home. Review all of your insurance policies. Make sure your insurance covers floods, earthquakes, water damage, tornados, or high winds in hurricane-prone areas. Set aside money in an emergency savings fund for the out-of-pocket costs you may have to pay including hotel stays, food, gas, and insurance deductibles.

Kids sitting in a row looking at their cell phones

Who Will We Contact?

Pick the same person for each family member to contact. Pick someone out of town—they may be easier to reach in a disaster.

Text, don’t talk. In an emergency, phone lines may be tied up. It may be easier to text and this leaves phone lines open for emergency workers.

Family sitting around a table working on their Family Communications Plan

Where Will We Meet?

Decide on safe, familiar, accessible places where your family can go for protection or to reunite. If you have pets or service animals, think about animal-friendly locations. Consider places in your house, in your neighborhood, and outside of your city or town so you’re prepared for any situation.

Girl reviewing the Family Emergency Communication Plan list

Practice, Practice, Practice!

On your own list or using the resources below, write down your contacts and plans. Make sure everyone in the family has copies and keeps them in a safe space, like in their backpack, wallet, or taped in a notebook. Put them in your cell phone if you have one. Hold regular household meetings to review and practice your plan.

Downloadable Resources

Print out a Communications Plan and fill it in with your family.

Family Communications Plan (Kids)
Family Communications Plan (Adults)
Family Emergency Communication Plan Fillable Cards