What is Your Family Emergency Plan?

What is your Family Emergency Plan? 

You are probably thinking, what is a Family Emergency Plan?  I don’t need it. I live in a safe community with quality schools and nothing ever happens here.  The truth is, everyone needs a plan!  Your children’s school has a plan, your husband’s place of work has a plan, and your city has a plan.  In the event of a family emergency, do you have a plan?

First, let us take a look at everyday emergencies. Examples of every day emergencies can include but not limited to: house fires, car accidents on way to pick up children from school, or your husband transported to the hospital while he is work.

Second, let us consider the possibilities of natural disasters such as floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and any other natural disaster mother nature throws at us.

Lastly, what if there was a shooting while you were shopping in the mall, a school lockdown, protesters on the streets on your way home, and rioters in the city. What is your plan to escape, leave, or get home?

If any of these happened right now, is your family prepared? Does everyone know what to do? Let me share with you some ideas to include in your Family Emergency Plan so you can be prepared for any situation, practice these routines, and be able to perform with a little less stress when needed.

Hi, I am Ron and I will be sharing with you how to prepare your Family Emergency Plan.  This Family Emergency Plan is a written and living document in the home.  The main purpose of this plan is to understand how the family will communicate, how it will relocate, and what necessary supplies will be taken.

family emergency plan
family watching house fire

Imagine this.

Your kids are in school, your husband is at work, and you are at home creating your new blog post.  Today is a day like all others.  You are happy, joyful, and excited about the future.  Instantaneously, out of nowhere, you are faced with a major emergency in which you must get in touch with your children and husband immediately!  The choices you make now, the preparation you committed to, and the practice you performed now all come into play.

What do you do?  What about the children at school?  Your husband, your pets, your elderly parents across town?  Who do you call?  Where do you meet?  What do you take?  What is the Family Emergency Plan?  Again, what do you do?

The plan is to have food, water, shelter, heat, shade, a source of light, and in today’s world – a portable cell phone battery charger. The average emergency family plan is created to allow the family to get out of town and survive for 3-5 days.

Do you have a plan?  If not, no worries, I am here to help you with Family Emergency Plan resources, ideas, and checklists. 

family emergency plan
image taken from the City of Hopkinton website.

What is a Family Emergency Plan?

A Family Emergency Plan is a written, living document created by the family in order to provide and secure a safe environment for all family members.  In some cases, the family emergency plan may have to include elder parents living near as well as the family pet(s).

I say “written document” because as a teacher I have observed students recall information better when they write the information down.  So let’s write down your family emergency plan and make sure every family member has input, a digital copy as well as an accessible hard copy.

Why does each family member need to have a hard copy, or paper copy of the family emergency plan? The main reason is a hard copy can be used with or without electricity and no need for internet access. You can say, the hard copy is the backup plan.

As for your children. Place a hard copy in their school backpack with a list of people, addresses, and phone numbers. Children will not remember phone numbers and addresses but they can pull out the paper and give it to an adult when they ask for help.

I say “living document” because this document can change depending on the ages of family members, the older child leaves for college, pets are family, cousins visiting at the time of the event.  Life changes daily, so it is important that this Family Emergency Plan be visited and discussed once a year.

The main purpose of the Family Emergency Plan is to secure and agree on

  • a form of communication
  • meeting place
  • supplies for everyone including pets
  • mode fof transportation
  • leave town
  • stay at home 3-5 days without help

In addition to the physical supplies, I want to add the importance of knowing and at best becoming certified in

  • American Red Cross First Aid
  • Adult CPR
  • Child CPR

Lastly, each member of the family should be made aware of how to

  • shut off the electricity to the home
  • turn off the water to the home
  • know where the gas valve is the home
  • access to the supply kit
family emergency plan

What is the purpose of a Family Emergency Plan?

The purpose behind the need for a Family Emergency Plan is for each family member to be made aware of what is expected in case of an emergency.  In other words, this is advanced planning for the family to move and secure a safe environment.

As in all things, when we plan for an event, we are much less stressed because we have reviewed and rehearsed this in our minds and in person.  We are ready and everyone knows it.  

I would like for you to remember the “3 Ps.”  

  1. Plan
  2. Practice
  3. Perform

Your family will need to sit down and plan what to do in case of an emergency.  Once the plan is completed, each family member must practice their role, and lastly; when the emergency is real – they must perform!


If you and your family can do these three items, everyone will be less stressed and more focused on the task at hand.

family emergency plan

What should a Family Emergency Plan include?

  • Each family member’s
    • Full legal name, date of birth, and social security number is written down
    • Photo ID and a copy of their birth certificate
    • Most current photo
  • List of contacts
    • Phone numbers of all immediate family and neighbors
    • Addresses of all immediate family and neighbors
    • Names of trusted people in the community with phone numbers
    • Added value, get social media accounts for all the above
  • Medical Attention Needs
    • Family doctor(s) name and address along with phone number
    • Medical insurance information
    • Hospital name and address along with phone number
  • Supplies for each member of the family
    • Adults and children
    • Babies and elderly
    • Pets
  • Unique items to consider while planning
    • Age of family members
    • Medicines, diapers, wipes, etc.
    • Handicap accessibility (if needed)
  • Reuniting with family members who are at
    • Home
    • Work
    • School
    • Daycare
    • University
    • Vacation
  • Family Emergency Plan Storage Ideas
    • USB drive
    • Computer or laptop
    • Cell phone
    • Waterproof pouches
    • Fireproof box
  • Leaving the home – must have
    • Food and water
    • Plan for shelter and transportation
    • Form of communication
    • Light and heat
    • Cell phone charging device
    • Insurance policies in hand
family emergency plan

How do you write a Family Emergency Plan?

How you write the Family Emergency Plan has a lot to do with personal location.  You will have to analyze your preference on how well you want to prepare, investigate the possibility of any surrounding environmental hazards, study the regional natural disaster possibilities, and then close in on your home to find any issues or concerns that might need to be planned for.

After completing the environmental study of your location sit down and plan what you think is best.  Once the written plan is complete call a family meeting and makes everyone aware. This includes notifying your neighbors and relatives of their role if called upon. The more everyone knows what to do and what is expected of them, the more prepared and less stressful the emergency will be.

One thing you may notice when you create the Family Emergency Plan is you need to go shopping.  For some, the supplies list will be extremely long and costly.  No worries, just make a purchase when you can with what you can afford.  You are not trying to be Rambo and save the world, you are simply trying to plan on survival to get out of town or survive for a minimum of three days.

What are the main items to consider?  Shelter, food, water, a source of light, and a cell phone charging source.  If you are able to get these bare necessities, you will be ok.  However, the more you can prepare, the less likely you will need to wait in long lines at grocery stores, food distribution sites, sporting goods stores, and home centers.

The main thing to remember in a family emergency plan are the 3 Ps: 


The key ingredient in the 3 Ps is communication before, during, and after a family emergency.  

As mentioned before, create a master list of all local families and trusted neighbors who would assist you in this time of need.  Add to any family members that live out of town.  Lastly, agree upon a meeting place for each scenario and practice.  With the 3Ps you will be able to PLAN your family emergency – PRACTICE your plan – PERFORM when needed with less stress and belief all will go well.


I sincerely hope your find this information helpful and thought provoking. The goal was to inform you of what a Family Emergency Plan was, how to create one, and the contents it has. The decision to create this document, practice the routines, and be less stressed out when it come times to perform are up to you.

I will leave you with this – what would you do if _____?


Download the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Ready.gov is an excellent source of detailed information as you prepare your family emergency plan.

Detailed list for building your emergency kit.

The American Red Cross is essential during a time of crisis. Read more about what they have to offer.

Wanting to read more blog posts on motherhood in general. Visit MomLifeHappyLife.

About Ronald Kretz

Ron is currently a high school geography teacher, football/baseball coach, and blogger. He enjoys helping other teachers/coaches manage their time and be more productive. You can read more blog posts at www.startateacherblog.com.

family emergency plan

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