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What’s The Plan?

April 27, 2011

Emergency Response

For most Americans, the usual work week schedule has the family quite scattered around.  Dad is working one place, Mom another.  One child may be in elementary school while an older is miles away in middle school.  Have you ever contemplated how you would all get back home in an emergency?

Whether it is an act of terrorism, an unexpected snowstorm, earthquake, or disaster like the Japanese nuclear radiation leak, you need a plan to make sure everyone is accounted for and can get home.

An Ounce Of Planning

First off, determine how you will contact each other.  A teenager may have a cell phone, but an elementary child is less likely.  What is the school’s policy about emergency contact?  And if cell phones don’t work for some reason, then what?

Second, where will you meet up?  Is the goal always to go home or maybe to grandma’s since it’s a good mid-way meeting point?  How would each person get there?  Will parents drive to school and pick them up, will the driving teenager pick up a younger sibling, or will they ride the bus if they are running?  Which parent runs by daycare for the baby and does he/she always have a carseat with them?

Third, what does each person carry with them that may help in a short-term emergency?  Does everyone wear or carry weather-appropriate clothes, a snack, and some water in their trunk or backpack?  Are backpacks reflective and do they contain a flashlight?

Other Considerations

How long should  one person wait for another before trying to find a different way home?

If home is effected (no access, no power, etc), then what is the back-up location?

If you live in an area prone to particular issues (earthquakes, floods, etc.), is everyone well trained in how to react safely (leave buildings, don’t cross water of unknown depth, …)?

Do you need more than one plan, depending on the situation?

I sometimes think about all the anguish on Sept. 11.  There was tremendous injury and loss of life, but those who could not verify that their loved ones were alright must have been sick with worry, too.

The ten year anniversary of that awful day is a few months off.  I imagine that the evil people who were behind that terrorism would love to commemorate it with another attack.  I plan to stay away from large cities that day.

Whether it is a large scale event that effects thousands like 9-11 or a small-scale event like a school shooting, you will want to know that all your loved ones are safe and accounted for.

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