28 page Red Cross Family Disaster Plan for Download - in .pdf format
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Disaster can strike quickly and without warning. It can force
you to evacuate your neighborhood or confine you to your home.
What would you do if basic services--water, gas, electricity or
telephones--were cut off? Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone right away.
Families can--and do--cope with disaster by preparing in advance
and working together as a team. Follow the steps listed in this
brochure to create your family's disaster plan. Knowing what
to do is your best protection and your responsibility.
4 Steps to Safety
1. Find Out What Could Happen to You
2. Create a Disaster Plan
Contact your local Red Cross chapter or emergency management office--be
prepared to take notes.
Ask what types of disasters are most likely to happen. Request
information on how to prepare for each.
Learn about your community's warning signals: what they sound
like and what you should do when you hear them.
Ask about animal care after a disaster. Animals are not allowed
inside emergency shelters because of health regulations.
Find out how to help elderly or disabled persons, if needed.
Find out about the disaster plans at your workplace, your children's
school or day care center, and other places where your family spends
3. Complete This Checklist
Meet with your family and discuss why you need to prepare for
disaster. Explain the dangers of fire, severe weather, and earthquakes
to children. Plan to share responsibilities and work together
as a team.
Discuss the types of disasters that are most likely to happen.
Explain what to do in each case.
Pick two places to meet:
- Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency,
like a fire.
- Outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home.
Everyone must know the address and phone number.
Ask an out-of-state friend to be your "family contact."
After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Other
family members should call this person and tell them where they
are. Everyone must know your contact's phone number.
Discuss what to do in an evacuation. Plan how to take care of
4. Practice and Maintain Your Plan
- Post emergency telephone numbers by phones (fire, police,
- Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1 or your local Emergency
Medical Services number for emergency help.
- Show each family member how and when to turn off the water,
gas, and electricity at the main switches.
- Check if you have adequate insurance coverage.
- Get training from the fire department for each family member on how to use the fire extinguisher
(ABC type), and show them where it's kept.
- Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, especially
- Conduct a home hazard hunt.
- Stock emergency supplies and assemble a Disaster Supplies
- Take a Red Cross first aid and CPR class.
- Determine the best escape routes from your home. Find two
ways out of each room.
- Find the safe places in your home for each type of disaster.
- Quiz your kids every six months so.
- Conduct fire and emergency evacuation.
- Replace stored water every six months and stored food every
- Test and recharge your fire extinguisher(s) according to manufacturer's
- Test your smoke detectors monthly and charge the batteries
at least once a year.
Neighbors Helping Neighbors
Working with neighbors can save lives and property. Meet with
your neighbors to plan how the neighborhood could work together
after a disaster until help arrives. If you're a member of a
neighborhood organization, such as a home association or crime
watch group, introduce disaster preparedness as a new activity.
Know your neighbors' special skills (e.g., medical, technical)
and consider how you could help neighbors who have special needs,
such as disabled and elderly persons. Make plans for child care
in case parents can't get home.
Home Hazard Hunt
During a disaster, ordinary objects in your home can cause injury
or damage. Anything that can move, fall, break, or cause a fire
is a home hazard. For example, a hot water heater or a bookshelf
can fall. Inspect your home at least once a year and fix potential
Contact your local fire department to learn about home fire
Keep enough supplies in your home to meet your needs for at least
three days. Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit
with items you may need in an evacuation. Store these supplies in sturdy,
easy-to-carry containers such as back-packs, duffle bags, or covered
A three-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day) and
food that won't spoil.
One change of clothing and footwear per person, and one blanket
or sleeping bag per person.
A first aid kit that includes your family's prescription medications.
Emergency tools including a battery-powered radio, flashlight,
and plenty of extra batteries.
An extra set of car keys and a credit card, cash or traveler's checks.
Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members.
An extra pair of glasses.
Keep important family documents in a waterproof container. Keep
a smaller kit in the trunk of your car.
If Disaster Strikes
Locate the main electric fuse box, water service main, and natural
gas main. Learn how and when to turn these utilities off. Teach
all responsible family members. Keep necessary tools near gas
and water shut-off valves.
Remember, turn off the utilities only if you suspect the lines
are damaged or if you are instructed to do so. If you turn the
gas off, you will need a professional to turn it back on.
Check for Injuries
Remain calm and patient. Put your plan into action.
Listen to Your Battery-Powered Radio for News and Instructions
Give first aid and get help for seriously injured people.
Check for Damage in Your Home...
Evacuate, if advised to do so. Wear protective clothing and sturdy
Use flashlights. Do not light matches or turn on electrical switches,
if you suspect damage.
Sniff for gas leaks, starting at the water heater. If you smell
gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open windows,
and get everyone outside quickly.
Shut off any other damaged utilities. (You will need a professional
to turn gas back on.)
Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline, and other flammable
General Disaster Preparedness Information
Confine or secure your pets.
Call your family contact--do not use the telephone again unless
it is a life-threatening emergency.
Check on your neighbors, especially elderly or disabled persons.
Make sure you have an adequate water supply in case service is
Stay away from downed power lines.
General Disaster Preparedness Materials for Children
"Disaster Preparedness Coloring Book" (ARC 2200, English,
or ARC 2200S, Spanish) for children ages 3-10.
"Adventures of the Disaster Dudes" (ARC 5024) video
and Presenter's Guide for use by an adult with children in grades
To get copies of American Red Cross community disaster education materials, contact your
local Red Cross chapter.
© Copyright 1998, The American National Red Cross. All