Family Safety Plans
Keeping your family safe during an emergency is the number one priority. Being prepared by developing a family safety plan is the best strategy for protecting your loved ones during an emergent event.
The Importance of a Family Safety Plan
It’s very difficult for people to navigate through the stress and chaos of an active emergency. By creating a family safety plan, your family can collectively and individually rely on the pre-made decisions to guide them to safety. Safety plans eliminate spur of the moment decisions and allow people to make other thoughtful and rational decisions in distressing situations. They help to minimize anxiety and fear surrounding emergency situations. Having a family safety plan becomes even more useful if everyone is not together or unable to contact others when an emergency strikes. Most importantly, a family safety plan could save you or your loved one’s life.
All in This Together
Developing a family safety plan should be done collaboratively so that everyone is on the same page and knows how to execute the plan. Inviting young children to participate will instill the importance of knowing what to do during an emergency. Having an open dialogue about a family safety plan can help to reassure your family members that everyone will know how to unite and stay safe, in chaotic and uncertain times.
What To Include
Each family will have a different safety plan that works for them. Some families may choose to develop an in-depth safety plan with information for their own individual needs. However, these are the general sections that are most important to include in all general family safety plans.
- What types of natural disasters or emergencies are common in your area and what to do differently for different situations. List separate emergency plans and evacuation orders for emergency situations that may have different procedures.
- Home evacuation and escape plan with floor plans – try to have 2 exits from each room.
- Neighbourhood evacuation and escape route with maps – have multiple different routes.
- Meeting place nearby the home – this should be on the same side of the road as your home.
- Meeting place outside the neighbourhood.
- Family member information; full names, government identification (numbers and/or photocopies), childcare/school/workplace information, phone numbers, birthdays, medical information (such as medications, vaccinations and allergies).
- Emergency contact list – for example; trusted contact people out of town, trusted contact people near by to the home, family doctors, poison control, utility/service providers, provincial emergency line and local pharmacy.
- Insurance information.
- Fire extinguisher location.
- Emergency and first aid kit location.
- Water valve location.
- Electrical panel location.
- Gas valve location.
- Floor drain location.
Families with young children may include designated care people from outside the family and their contact information as well as retrieval from schools.
Families with pets may include what to do for pet care during emergencies, such as locations and phone numbers the pet can stay such as a friend or a pet friendly hotel.
Where and How to Keep the Family Safety Plan
You never know what the circumstances, time or location will be when you or one of your family members needs to access the safety plan.
- Store electronic copies on mobile devices with password protection.
- Keep enough physical copies for each family member in easily accessible common area.
- For young children, you can provide a modified version to your child’s school or to keep in their backpack. Keep in mind that if the backpack was to be lost or stolen, you don’t want to include any compromising information.
- Keep physical copies in fire or waterproof containers such as a waterproof bag or fireproof safe.