When you have children, it’s critical to know what you’ll do in the event of an emergency. Whether you practice drills with your kids regularly or simply have routine family discussions about how to handle emergencies, there are some critical things you need to do to make sure that your family emergency plan works properly.

Post Emergency Numbers

In a crisis, it’s often difficult to remember simple things–including emergency numbers. Make sure that the numbers you are most likely to need during an emergency, including poison control, the local non-emergency police line, the fire department, and the number for your pediatrician, are posted in plain sight. It might be helpful to include your cell phone number and work and school numbers for each family member.

Know Different Alarms

If an alarm goes off in the house–your security alarm, fire alarm, carbon monoxide alarm–does everyone know what it indicates and what they’re supposed to do? It’s important that you test these alarms and let the kids know what they sound like so that they will be able to respond appropriately. If possible, get these alarms hooked up to your security system, so you can receive updates when an alarm goes off, even if you aren’t at home.

Create a 72-Hour Kit

Sometimes, before you leave your home in an emergency, you’ll have a few minutes to pack up important items, but often you have to move quickly, and there isn’t time to find everything. In those cases, you will want to have a basic 72-hour kit available. These contain food, clothing, and emergency supplies that will last you for three days. When building the kits, make sure you include any special needs, such as medication. Keep your 72-hour kits somewhere that is easy to access, usually near an exit so you can grab them on your way out.

Delegate Responsibilities

Do you expect an older child to take care of a younger sibling or to make sure a pet is packed up? Do you want all of the kids to listen immediately and go straight to a predetermined evacuation point? Covering these key details will help everything move more smoothly during a family emergency situation. Make sure everyone knows what they are doing and what the other family members are doing so you don’t get two people trying to do the same job.

Practice Your Plan

Talking about a plan is good, but you need to practice as well. When an emergency happens, your adrenaline goes up, and it can be easy to panic. Practicing without the emergency will help your family get used to what they are supposed to do and help them reduce the panic if an actual emergency does occur.

Creating a family emergency plan will help ensure that if something does happen that requires a fast response, your family is prepared. Make sure you include these key elements to keep your family safer no matter what the emergency.

Resources:

Important Emergency Numbers

ADT – Protect Your Home

Starting Your 72-Hour Kits

Make a Plan