Published On: September 20th, 2022765 words3.8 min read

As you might already know, September is National Preparedness Month. This year’s theme:

The life you’ve built is worth protecting. Prepare for disasters to create a lasting legacy for you and your family.”

We talked last week about making sure your business is ready when disasters happen, but you also need to make sure your family (and pets) are prepared for emergencies too.

As always when it comes to safety, make a plan! Know how to respond to either an evacuation or shelter-in-place order.


Starting your plan

Consider the following questions, and feel free to bring in your spouse and kids to help answer them. You’ll need to think outside technology, because cell phone services may be down and your power will likely go out.

  • How will you get the emergency alerts and warnings?
  • What will you do (and what do you need) for sheltering in place? You may not have water services and you won’t be able to get to the grocery store for a while, so what do you need to stock up on? Do you have enough flashlights for everyone, and do you have enough batteries? What about staying warm if your heating oil or gas goes out? What things do your pets need: food, water, litter…?
  • If you need to evacuate, what route will you take? Roads will likely have lots of other families leaving the area, so keep that in mind. 
  • How will you communicate with each other? If everyone’s in the house together, that won’t be an issue. But suppose the kids are at school and you and/or your spouse are at work?
  • Do we need to update (or create) an emergency kit and “go-bag”? You may need extra supplies if you’re in your home for days without power, and you’ll need your essentials with you when you evacuate. Having kits prepared ahead of time means that you don’t have to scramble to find everything. There’s a good list at the State Department for things you might need, so just skip the items that don’t apply to you if you’re not one of their employees.


If you already have a kit, take a look at it and make sure nothing’s expired. Batteries do lose their charge after some time, so check the expiration dates for those too. A solar or plug-in rechargeable pad for batteries may not be operable depending on the nature of the emergency.


Consider your family’s specific needs

If you’re caring for an elderly parent, you’ll need to include their medical equipment too. Medicines for anyone in the family (including pets), prescriptions, special needs, and anything that school-aged children might need should all be taken into consideration. 

Having some books and activities for the young ones may help distract them and help them feel safe. You might also have some cultural or religious items that need to be in a kit as well.


Create your emergency plan

There’s a template at that you can fill out and use. 



Practicing the actions in your plan will make the emergency feel less threatening, because you already know what to do. Children especially may be less fearful when they know they’ve run the drill before. It will also help you identify anything you might have missed.

When the emergency comes, it’s hard to remember what to do. Your animal brain takes over and being rational and logical is extremely hard, if not impossible! Having some “muscle memory” because you’ve practiced your plan will help you stay organized in the midst of a frightening situation.

Practice more than once – while once is definitely better than not practicing it at all, it won’t make the drill familiar enough when the time comes. You can gamify it for your kids (or even for you and your spouse) so it’s fun as well as helping you build the muscle memory you’ll need in case of an emergency.

Having a plan and practicing that plan could make your experience during an emergency less traumatic for you and your family. Take a little time this September to make your plan or review your old one and see if you need to make changes. When disaster strikes, you’ll be glad you did!


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