What’s scarier than a hurricane, tornado, thunderstorm or tsunami? Getting stuck in one without a plan. Get started by using paper to create a game plan in case of weather emergencies.
The Department of Homeland Security’s national public service campaign Ready.gov suggests building an emergency plan tailored to your family’s needs. Start by determining how you’ll receive emergency alerts and warnings, developing a shelter plan and an evacuation route and creating a communication plan on paper.
“Communication networks, such as mobile phones and computers, could be unreliable during disasters, and electricity could be disrupted,” according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “Planning in advance will help ensure that all the members of your household—including children and people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs, as well as outside caregivers—know how to reach each other and where to meet up in an emergency.”
That’s why, when preparing for bad weather, FEMA suggests creating a paper copy of each family member’s contact information and other critical contacts, such as doctors, schools and medical facilities. Build your own template, or fill in this editable form on Ready.gov. Once you’ve collected this information in one document, print and distribute copies to each member of your family and post a copy in a common area of your home, like on the refrigerator.
You’ll also want to have paper copies of important documents such as birth certificates on hand and a stock of emergency supplies, the National Safety Council says. Store documents in a secure place like a safe deposit box or a fire- and waterproof safe, and print this severe weather checklist of emergency supplies. From flashlights to the amount of water you’ll need per person per day, this emergency preparation list will help you get ready before a severe weather event occurs.
Your plan is committed to paper, everyone has a copy and you’ve tracked down essential supplies—now what? Practice what you’ve prepared. FEMA suggests holding regular household meetings to review and test your plan.