Emergency Planning 101 for Families

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Write Out Your Emergency Plan

Knowing your families emergency plan helps you handle details and keeps your entire family in agreement. Different emergency situations may cause you to have different plans for each scenario.

You should consider making a master emergency plan as well as modifying for specific situations. You can make a plan for your family in case of fires, including both house and wildfires. Make a plan for a flood, a tornado, power outages, industrial accidents and more.

For example, a plan concerning a house fire would include a bugout bag (that you keep in a front closet for easy access) which includes at the very minimum a copy of your homeowners insurance, important papers, cash and banking information.

You’d also want to designate a spot for the entire family to meet. This helps you know that everyone got out of the house safely. This spot might be a big tree in the front yard, by the picnic table in the back or down at the gate.

house fire
house fire

Put Your Plan in Motion

Once you’ve created your emergency plans set about making preparations for each. This might include bugout bags for each family member, as well as a bugout bag for the car.

Create Lists

As a child before we set out on vacation car trips Dad would make a list on paper of everything we could possibly need on the trip. He then checked them off as they went into the camper.
Smart man, Dad!

Your lists will be formulated around your specific needs. You’ll at least want a master list indicating locations of everything on those lists. Hopefully you can create one storage spot for everything making your emergency supplies easier to locate and load. You can create this list in a notebook, or even create an electronic document, but be sure to print it out and keep it with your emergency supplies.

A detailed list might include a running inventory for emergency food, water, first aid etc… Be sure to pay attention to expiration dates!

Your printed list should also include medical information such as medications needed for each family member, emergency contacts etc.

check list
check list

Create a Space

Make room in your vehicle for a bugout bag. Make room at work in your desk for an emergency bag as well. (One never knows when one will have to leave on foot.)

Create space in a front closet, or in the garage (with easy access). You wouldn’t want to keep your emergency supplies in the attic for instance. Not only could heat hurt some contents but the attic wouldn’t necessarily have easy access. (Think fire). Your basement might not be a good location either because of a flood. You might even consider a nearby storage facility if it has 24 hour access.

Emergency Storage Containers

You can find heavy duty backpacks (look at garage sales and thrift stores if money is tight). Reuse plastic cat litter buckets, obtain 5 gallon buckets with lids, or even large plastic storage containers. Anything that can be stacked and easily loaded is good. (Be aware of space constraints too. Will those containers fit into your car trunk? How many can you stack in the back of an SUV?)

Backpacks can be grabbed easily. You can create a backpack for each family member which includes a change of clothing, a jacket, a rain poncho, firestarter, long expiration easy to open foodstuffs such as granola bars or Vienna sausages.


Label everything. Put a name or color designation on each backpack. Label or use a permanent marker on your tubs.


At least once a year go through your supplies and check for damage from moths/mice/bugs and check expiration dates.

Thinking ahead and getting organized is a good method to help insure your family’s survival
no matter the situation.