6 Tips to Create a Family Emergency Plan

It's crucial your family understands what to do if disaster strikes. Use this six-point checklist to create a family emergency plan.

1. Assemble an emergency supply kit.


  • Water
  • Nonperishable food
  • Can opener
  • Flashlights with extra batteries
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Clothes
  • Shoes
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Solar-powered cell phone charger
  • Copies of important papers like insurance information and birth certificates
  • Cash
  • Prescription medication

2. Create an evacuation route.

In case of fire, make sure everyone in your family knows and understands the escape plan. Practice your route several times each year.

3. Designate a meeting place.

Be sure your family knows where to go if you are separated while evacuating your home. Also, pick a second spot farther from your neighborhood in case you need to leave the area.

4. Develop an in-home plan.

If you're told to shelter in place during a natural disaster such as a tornado or earthquake, make sure your family knows these guidelines:

  • Go into the basement or an interior room on the first floor for a tornado
  • Take cover under something sturdy, such as a table, for an earthquake
  • Stay near an interior wall
  • Keep away from windows

5. Make a plan for your pets.

Many shelters won't take animals during emergency housing situations, so arrange an alternate housing plan that will admit your furry friends.

6. Choose an out-of-area contact.

This person can help arrange meeting places and communicate with family members who may have been separated during the emergency. Everyone in your family should have the contact's phone number on hand in case cell phone service isn't available for separated family members to call each other.

Learn more about creating a family emergency preparedness plan, and make sure your family knows the details inside and out — because it just might save their lives.