Emergency Preparation Part 2: Planning for Family Members and Pets During an Emergency

In Part I of our Emergency Preparedness blog series, we covered steps you should take to plan for your food and water supply in the event of an emergency. This week, it’s drill time… Whether you’re at work or school, there are typically guidelines and emergency drills that are developed to ensure everyone’s safety in case of an emergency. When it comes to an emergency for your family, the same rule applies: preparation is key in getting through an emergency safely and in good health.

Below, we’ve outlined some key steps to get you started on developing a plan for your family and four-legged friends during an emergency.

Your Family’s Emergency Plan:

  1. Evaluate the potential dangers of disaster with your family. What are the risks in your area? Do you live in a region susceptible to tornadoes or possibly hurricanes? Different regions and areas require different planning needs in the case of an emergency. Consider the specific seasonal and regularly recurring risks in your area when creating your emergency or disaster plan.
  2. Create a plan for evacuation. Where should you go?
    • Two possible evacuation locations are recommended, for example right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire, or outside of your neighborhood in case you can’t return home.
      • If your family plan identifies a location outside of your neighborhood for evacuation, it’s important that every family member knows the address and the phone number of that location.
  3. Choose someone out of town to be the conduit for the family in the case of separation
  4. Familiarize yourself with your children’s school or daycare emergency plan. Family emergency plans should incorporate a plan of action if your child is not home.
  5. Post emergency telephone numbers by all phones and/or in a visible/communal location in your home. Check out our Know When to Go document as an example.
  6. Teach children how and when to call 911 or your local Emergency Medical Services number for emergency help.
  7. Escape routes should be identified in your home. Find two ways out of each room.
  8. Each family member should be shown how and when to turn off the water, gas, and electricity at the main switches. Doing so will help prevent further disaster during an emergency.
  9. Stock emergency supplies and assemble a disaster supplies kit.
    • The water and food you’ve stored in case of emergency should be replaced every three to six months. For more on emergency food and water supply storage, check out Part I of our post.
    • All family members (once of age to enroll) should take a first aid and CPR class.
    • ­It’s recommended that you test your smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.


  1. Locate the nearest shelter available for your pet. Find out which hotels and motels in your area allow pets in advance. Knowing this will alleviate headache in case you and your family have to evacuate for an extended period of time.
  2. Along with stocking supplies for your family, ensure you stock adequate supplies of pet food, bottled water, medications, and food dishes. Include an extra copy of all pet records in your emergency supply kit.
  3. Ensure that your pet’s tags and identification are up-to-date and securely fastened to your pet’s collar. Include your home address on the identification tag(s) to make sure your pet can be returned home safely in the event of an emergency.

Now that we’ve provided you with some important tips to ensure the safety of your family and pets, how do you plan on getting your emergency plan together? Stay tuned as we continue our Emergency Preparedness and Planning blog series!

Related Resources:


Recent Blog Posts

Recent Blog Posts