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How to Prepare an Emergency Plan for Your Family When You’re Away from Home

By ​Conrad Novak 

As parents, we can be hesitant to leave our loved one’s home for an extended period. It’s our nature to worry. We feel as though our families become more vulnerable without us. If we prepare for emergencies when we are away from our loved ones, we can feel more comfortable leaving them.
Most disasters tend to happen when you least expect it. When you’re far away from your family, these 5 ways to prepare an emergency plan will allow you and your family to respond to emergency situations in the best way possible.

Put Someone in Charge

First, establish a chain of command when you are away. Who is next in line to lead the group? The person to be left in charge should be the most responsible for the bunch and be someone that has the rest of the family’s respect. The person in charge should be groomed to do what you would do in an emergency.

This person may be your oldest child or your youngest child, depending on the level of maturity. Without having someone in charge there is no order. To prevent panic, someone should take the lead in case of emergency.

It’s crucial that your family understands the importance of working together, as one wrong decision could lead to a life or death situation. Emergency plans only work if your family members execute it out correctly. It’s important for them to know that in case of an emergency everyone needs to stick together and not panic.

Traits to look for when choosing a leader are effective communication, positive attitude, trustworthy, and innovative. Be sure that the person in charge knows that they are in charge and will step up and accept responsibility for the others in your absence. This person should have access to the emergency plan and everything needed to execute it. Knowing that you have a second in command will ease some worries until you can get back to your family.


Enlist Outside Helpers
Get to know your neighbors. Neighbors may become your closest allies in case of emergency as far as proximity goes. At the least, exchange contact information. If something seems array, have the convenience of calling a neighbor and asking them to check on your family. Ensure that your neighbor knows that you will do the same with them.Get permission to include their information in your emergency plan and allow them to use your information in their emergency plan. Contact nearby Family and friends. Tell them about your emergency plan and gather updated information to include it in the plan. It is important to have options for people that you can depend on. These people may have different qualities that may be best depending on the emergency. A nearby cousin may be a pediatrician in case a child is sick or a nearby friend may be a police officer which can be an asset when an emergency strikes.
It may be something as simple as the electricity going out. You can call your neighbor on their mobile to see if they were affected.

Outside help can be essential in case of emergency. Someone may be home alone or may not have the ability to get out. You may need to use a neighbor’s resources. There may be a storm coming that you have no idea about and a neighbor may want to warn you or you may want to warn your neighbors. It is possible to get through tough times alone, but much easier to get through it with others.
Be Realistic
Your emergency plan has to realistic to those involved. Be sure to consider emergencies that are likely to occur in your area. It can be impossible to plan for every possible hazard. Being sure to plan for things more likely to happen will give you more preparedness than trying to plan for all disasters. If you live in a flood zone, focus on an emergency flood situation rather than the apocalypse. Visit Happy Preppers for information on planning for natural disasters.

Set realistic expectations of emergency situations. Sometimes an emergency is not as bad as it may seem. Sometimes an emergency situation is worse than it seems. Be sure to access the situation and over prepare a bit. There is no need to cover your home in plastic full time, but it may be necessary to board windows if a storm is approaching.

It is also important to be realistic when planning for an emergency when planning an emergency evacuation. Don’t plan to swim to safety without taking into account that someone in your family is unable to swim. It is also important to take into account your family’s fitness level. Climbing into the roof or fitting into a tight space may not be an option for certain members of the family.

You will have to tailor your emergency plan around the characteristics of your family. The goal is to keep everyone safe. It may benefit you to plan with the weakest and most vulnerable in mind i.e. a baby or an elderly person. There is no one plan that works for every family.
Have a Drill
Practice makes perfect. Drills are of the utmost importance. Just as drills are done in public places such as schools, drills should be done at home. By doing drill we can familiarize our families and ourselves with the plan, and work out any existing issues. Have a drill based on each type of emergency planned for. These drills don’t have to be done all at once. They can be completed of a course of time.

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However, it is important to complete the drills as soon as possible. It is not enough to complete the drills once. Drills should be done once a year to remain fresh on everyone’s brain.
Be sure that your family takes the drill seriously. We tend to forget what we are supposed to do when disaster strikes and adrenaline rushes through us. Repeat drills until they become second nature. When completing drills, verify that everyone knows their role and acts in their role.

Consider places where you will be able to meet if the house becomes off limits and you are unable to contact each other. Verify that this place is familiar to each family member, and be sure that everyone has access to it.

Create an emergency kit based on the needs of the family. Include necessary medical equipment and items to care for pets. There are many online resources that aid in creating an emergency kit. A good resource is Survivor’s Fortress Bug Out Bags Guide. This source has documents that will aid in building your emergency kit and forming an overall emergency plan.
Write it Down
This is the most important step in creating an emergency plan. We simply cannot rely on our brains to remember every step of the process. Take the time to produce a physical copy of your emergency plan. Include all information and step by step instructions. Your emergency plan and emergency kit should reside in the same place. Make sure the emergency plan is easily accessible and safe from possible threats.

If you have a safe in your home, this would be a great place for your emergency plan and kit.
Be very detailed in your plans. Write it as if your family knows nothing. Assumptions have no place in an emergency plan. Visit Preppers Survive for tips on building an emergency kit.
Be sure that your plan is easy to read and easy to follow. If you have small children, write your emergency plan with them in mind. Add photos wherever necessary. Include collected contact information in the front.

When completing drills, include and follow the written plan. Make adjustments as needed. An emergency plan should not be set in stone. Whenever adjustments need to be made, make them. You may know how to better handle an emergency in the future than you do now.
Be sure to update contact information as it changes over time. Keep in contact with those on your emergency contact list to know if their information has changed. You may have to remove or add contacts over a period of time. Writing your emergency plan down will give your family the best chance of success should an emergency occur.
Now you are prepared to start creating your emergency plan. With careful research and thoughtfulness, you can create a plan that may protect your family in your absence. It can be difficult to imagine disasters especially when we are away from our loved ones. Thoughts of disaster are necessary to properly plan for a favorable outcome. Get your family and friends involved for their input. Creating an emergency plan is a serious matter but can be a fun family activity. The more you include your family when creating the plan, the more likely they will understand its importance.

About the Author:
Conrad Novak is a proud father of two children. His journey as a prepper began when Hurricane Katrina hit and he lost his job due to the 2008 economic crisis. That made him realize that everything can change for the worst in a very short time. This experience was the detonator for him to pursue learning and becoming better prepared to face the kind of unexpected disasters that may occur at any point in our lives. You can read more of his content at

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