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Making A Family Plan For Disasters, Emergencies

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

In the event of a hurricane, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) recommends families to establish a disaster or emergency plan.


Identify potential threats in your community, such as the location of flood prone areas, power plants and hazardous chemicals.

Discuss how natural and man-made threats could affect your family.

Evaluate your property's vulnerability to hazards, such as storm surge, flooding and wildfires.

Check your insurance coverage.


Identify the safest areas of your home for each threat. In many circumstances, the safest area may not be your home but elsewhere in your community. During times of evacuation, you will be given instructions on evacuation routes.

Specify escape routes from your home and places to meet (rally points), such as a neighbor's home, a school or a public location.

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Make a plan for evacuating the area if required.

Designate an out-of-area contact—friend or family member—so that each of your immediate family members has the same single point of contact. Plan to have at least two means of communication, (e.g., e-mail, phone and cell phone).

Make a plan for your pets should you need to evacuate. Most shelters will accept service animals.

Have your family emergency information accessible, including important family documents such as prescriptions and insurance information.

Post emergency telephone numbers by your phones and make sure your children know how and when to call 911. Make sure any cell phones are fully charged.

Assemble and maintain a disaster supply kit. A battery-powered weather radio equipped with a special alarm tone feature is a vital tool. During an emergency, National Weather Service forecasters will interrupt routine weather radio programming and send out the special tone that activates weather radios in the listening area.


When a disaster occurs, listen to news sources for information and instructions.

Evacuate or seek medical attention quickly if instructed by authorities. If you cannot obtain information, determine as best as you can if you are in a danger area.

Whether you stay or evacuate, don't panic. Follow your family plan.