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Make a Plan

Emergency plans are your guide to knowing what to do when a disaster hits. They include information on how your family or staff will communicate, where you will go for safety and who is responsible for what. Make sure everyone in your household or business knows what the emergency plan is and what to do.

Don't forget to practice! Your plan is only a piece of paper unless you can prove that it works. Everyone should go through the actual steps in the plan to make sure they can do it quickly and correctly. A good plan that everyone can follow can save lives

A communication plan is an important part of the emergency plan. You should include the following in your communication plan:

Be in the know

  • Now that you’ve decided how you’ll stay informed, make sure everyone in your emergency plan knows about these sources and how to use them.

How you will stay in touch with loved ones

  • Designate an out of town/state contact. Since they don’t live in the area, their phone lines will not be effected by the disaster. A single call from you to them saves you time and keeps local lines open. Your contact can call the rest of your loved ones to update them on your situation.
  • Instead of calling people use social media, email or text. Texting gets through when many other methods do not.
  • Have a paper list of “important contacts” with phone numbers. The contact list on your cell phone won’t help if the battery dies. If you need to reach anyone in the first few hours after a disaster, such as your immediate family, your doctor, your insurance agent, and so on, include them on a list of important contacts.

Sheltering-in-place means staying where you are because it’s safer than going outside. When we go to the basement because of a storm warning or stay home because of a blizzard, we are sheltering-in-place. This is not a common safety action in San Rafael, but was more recently practiced during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Choose two meeting spots:

  1. If you have to get out of your home in the event of a house fire – the corner of the block or a neighbor’s porch all make good meeting spots. In this location you can gather and take a head count to make sure everyone got out safely. Make sure your meeting site is far enough away from the building to not be in danger or in the way of responding emergency personnel.
  2. If you have to get out of your neighborhood – this gets more complicated and will vary by household, which makes being prepared that much more important

Know how to get to safety

  • If you must evacuate on foot, make sure your evacuation kit contains sturdy walking shoes. Evacuations from densely populated areas like downtown business districts may be on foot to prevent complete gridlock on the roads. Follow emergency instructions.
  • Use your private vehicle if possible. Carpool with a friend or neighbor to lessen the traffic on the roads. This will help everyone get out faster.
  • If you must use public transportation, follow emergency instructions to go to your nearest muster site. Should be located out of your city in case you need to evacuate your neighborhood. It can be a relative’s house, cabin or hotel you plan to use before you can safely return to your home.

Make a kit

Consider creating an evacuation kit. ]INSERT LINK HERE]

Bring your pet

Do not leave them behind. Emergency plans for pet owners.

Will you need extra welfare checks, or a place to stay during power outages, heat waves, and so on?

Discuss your plan with family or friends and neighbors who can assist you in your area of need.

Will you need transportation assistance in an evacuation?

Accessible public transportation may be in short supply.

Can you count on a loved one or neighbor to help evacuate you?

Build a support network. The limited resources available in a disaster may mean that help takes longer to get to all those who need it. The more you can handle on your own, or with your support network, the faster those resources can get to everyone who needs them.

Do you have medications, assistance devices, or care staff you require for basic activities of daily living?

  • Evaluate your capabilities. Only you know what kind of additional assistance, if any, you may need in a disaster.
  • If your needs involve communications functions, make sure you have identified a warning source that is accessible to you.
  • Make sure your plans include the needs of your service animal.

Discuss your needs with your employer to make sure that they are addressed in your workplace’s emergency plans.

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