Family emergency planning can be the key to surviving an emergency. It is important to talk to your family to prepare them for various emergencies. Ensure the whole family is a part of the planning process so that the plan addresses everyone's needs. Familiarize yourself with emergency plans at places that are a part of your everyday life, such as school, work, church, or day care.

Recognize that in extreme situations, emergency resources may be limited. Be prepared to care for yourself and your family for at least three days (72 hours).

Designate locations to meet

Designate locations to meet in case it is impossible to return home or if you have to evacuate. Make sure your family knows the address and phone number of both locations. Choose two -

  • one near your home and
  • one outside the neighborhood.

Designate an out-of-area contact person

This person should be far enough away that it is unlikely he or she would be affected by the same emergency. Family members should call this person to report their locations if they cannot reach each other. Provide your contact person with important names and numbers so he or she can assist in keeping others posted on your situation. Create a communications card for each member of your household to keep with them at all times.

Family Communications Plan (English version) - Illinois Terrorism Task Force
Family Communications Plan (Spanish version) - Illinois Terrorism Task Force


Create an Emergency Supply Kit and a Go Bag

Make sure that all members of your household know where these supplies are.


Determine the best escape routes from your home

Identify at least two separate escape routes and practice using them. Keep a flashlight and a pair of shoes by each bed.


Locate your gas main and other utilities

Make sure the entire household knows where they are and how to operate them. Make sure your home is as safe and secure as possible.


Make copies of all important documents

Keep them off-site in a secure location. Include these documents: passports, birth certificates, Social Security cards, wills, deeds, driver's licenses, financial documents, insurance information, and prescriptions. Catalog and photograph valuables, and keep these with your second set of documents.

The Emergency Financial First Aid Kit, developed by Operation HOPE and FEMA, can help you identify and organize key financial records and provides a quick reference file for your most important financial documents.

While making your plan, consider the requirements of children, seniors, persons with functional needs, non-English speakers, and pets in your household.


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