Getting Ready - Elements of Family Emergency Planning and Preparation

Meet with household members. Explain dangers to children, and work as a team to prepare your family for emergencies.
  • Discuss what to do about power outages and personal injuries.
  • Post emergency phone numbers near phones.
  • Learn how to turn off the water, gas (see inset) and electricity at your home.
  • Select a safe meeting point. During an emergency, you may become separated from family members.
  • Choose an out-of-town contact because it is often easier to make a long-distance phone call than a local call from a disaster area. Everyone must know the contact’s phone number.
  • Complete a family communications plan. Your plan should include contact information for family members, work and school.
  • Teach children how to make long-distance phone calls.
  • Complete an inventory of home contents and photograph/videotape the house and landscape. Place files in your to-go bag . A second copy of these files should be stored in a location away from your home or stored in the “cloud’.
  • Identify escape routes and safe places. In a fire or other emergency, you may need to evacuate very quickly. Be sure everyone in your family knows the best escape routes out of your home and where safe places are in your home for each type of disaster. Draw an escape plan with your family highlighting two routes out of each room.
gas shut offHow to Shut Off the Gas Supply
Attach a wrench to the gas meter with a wire so it is readily  accessible in the event of an emergency. Use the wrench to turn  the valve until it is perpendicular to the pipe.

Be aware that once  your gas is turned off; all your pilot lights will need to be relit  when turning the gas back on. It is advisable to contact your gas provider at that time.
Preparing Pets and Livestock for Evacuation
Plan to take your animals with you and never turn them loose. Animals may not be allowed inside human emergency shelters. Contact your county’s animal services department for advice on animal evacuation. 
  • Make sure dogs and cats wear properly fitted collars with identification, vaccination, microchip and license tags.
  • Your pet evacuation plan should include routes, transportation needs and host sites. Share this plan with trusted neighbors in your absence.
  • Exchange veterinary information with neighbors and file a permission slip with the veterinarian authorizing emergency care for your animals if you cannot be located.
  • Make sure all vehicles, trailers and pet carriers needed for evacuation are serviced and ready to be used.
  • Assemble a pet to-go bag with a supply of food, non-spill food and water bowls, cat litter and box and a restraint (chain, leash or harness). Additional items to include are newspaper and paper towels, plastic bags, permanent marker, bleach/disinfectant solution and water buckets.
How to Address the Special Needs of
Vulnerable Populations During an Evacuation

During a disaster, it is essential that individuals with special needs, including the elderly, people with medical problems and people with certain disabilities, receive proper care. 
  • If the family member is dependent upon medications, equipment or has special dietary needs, plan to bring those items with you. Documentation about insurance and medical conditions should also accompany the person.
  • Transportation available to the general public during an emergency evacuation may not be suitable for family members with special needs. Plan ahead for their transportation.
  • Many special needs populations are easily upset and stressed by sudden and frightening changes. Your plans should ensure that a caregiver or trusted family member is able to stay with them at all times during an evacuation.

Would you need special help in an emergency?
The Rogue Valley Council of Governments maintains a confidential Disaster Registry which provides the names and locations of people who need special assistance to fire, police, health, and rescue workers. If you want to be on the Disaster Registry, or if you want someone for whom you are legally responsible to be on it, please complete a registration form.

You Have Prepared Your Family for an Emergency Evacuation When You Have:
  • Made a Family Emergency Plan.
  • Registered with your local emergency notification system if this service is available in your area.
  • Registered with your phone tree captain, if one has been established in your community.
  • Attended an evacuation drill and practiced two of the recommended evacuation routes out of the community.
  • Arranged for transportation out of the affected area if you do not drive.
  • Familiarized yourself and your family with the location of local evacuation centers.
  • Designated a safe meeting place and contact person for you and your family members.
  • Assembled a family to-go bag, a disaster supplies kit and a pet to-go bag.
  • Inventoried home contents and videotaped/photographed property and placed in to-go bag.
  • Reviewed the animal/livestock evacuation recommendations and assembled supplies needed for their care in a pet to-go bag.