One of the most important steps you can take in preparing for emergencies is to develop a family emergency plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it’s important for all family members to understand the plan.
Steps you can take
- Learn about the disasters and emergencies that could occur in your community and talk about them with your family.
- Sign up for the Emergency Alert Program through the Dakota Communications Center which calls you in the event of an emergency.
- Establish a nearby meeting place if you’re not able to go home.
- Ask a friend or relative (preferably outside the local area) to serve as a central contact to coordinate information if family members are separated and cell phone networks are not working. Be sure all family members know how to reach the contact and report in.
- Instruct your family to call 911 in an emergency. Teach children how to dial 911.
- Make sure all family members know how to shut off the water, gas and electricity and keep appropriate tools near the shut offs. Always consult with your utility company prior to turning them back on if your house has been damaged.
- Be certain your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detectors work.
- Make a photo record of your belongings as a record for your insurance company. Include interior and exterior photos of your home.
- Notify caregivers and babysitters of your plan.
- Plan for your pets.
- Plan for people with special needs.
For more information, go to the Ready.gov Family Emergency Plan webpage.