Be prepared. Have a family emergency plan.

With hurricanes battering the south and wildfires here at home, we’re encouraging employees, retirees and customers to take steps now to prepare your family, home and business for all types of emergencies.

Throughout September’s National Preparedness Month, we will be sharing emergency preparedness tips and resources through Employee News, social media, our website, and at local events.

This week, our focus is, “Making a Plan.”

Make a Family Emergency Plan

Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Make a plan for yourself and your family: know how you will contact one another and reconnect if separated, and establish a meeting place that is familiar and easy to find.

By talking with your family and coming up with a plan ahead of time, you can do a lot to help ensure your safety in a worst-case scenario.

Planning ahead helps the community as well. If we’re prepared and able to take care of our own in a disaster, that frees up first responders and makes it more likely that each of us can support restoration efforts following any kind of emergency.

Step 1: Put together a plan by discussing these four questions with your family.

1. How will we receive emergency alerts and warnings?
Many mobile devices will now bring you wireless emergency alerts—real-time information directly from local and federal sources. Check out these alert options:

Lane County ALERT ME! Lane County is able to send you emergency alerts via text message, email, pager, or voice call (in extreme cases), based on your preferences. Sign up today and share the types of alerts and notifications that you would like to receive, as well as your contact information and preferences.

American Red Cross Earthquake Mobile App Receive alerts and notifications when an earthquake occurs, prepare your family and home, find help and let others know you are safe even if the power is out.

FEMA Mobile App Learn what to do before, during, and after emergencies with safety tips, and receive weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five different locations anywhere in the United States.​

2. What is our shelter plan?
Depending on your circumstances and the nature of the disaster, it may be best to stay where you are and avoid any uncertainty outside by “sheltering in place.” Do you have an emergency stock of food, water, medicines, fuel and other supplies?

If you needed to leave home, where would you go? To a family member or friend’s home? A hotel? A shelter? Where is the closest public shelter located? Consider your options and discuss with your loved ones in advance.

3. What is our evacuation route?
In a natural disaster, some roads and bridges may be unpassable. It’s smart to plan ahead for a few different route options to your shelter location. Keep a map in your car in case your mobile navigation is unavailable.

4. What is our family communication plan?
In an emergency, many people trying to use their mobile phones and land lines at the same time may create network congestion. Have a conversation with your family and agree on a plan for how you will communicate and reconnect. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Try text messaging. In many cases text messages will go through when your call may not.
  • Designate someone out of the area as a central contact, and make certain all family members know who to contact if they become separated.
  • Agree on a meeting place in case you are unable to connect via phone, text or email.
  • Keep portable cell phone power banks in your car, backpacks, etc.
  • Make sure each family member has a printed list of phone numbers in case your cell phones aren’t working.

Step 2: Document your emergency plan.
Here are some templates to use as a guide: https://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan

Step 3: Practice your plan
Review and practice your plan a couple times a year so that everyone will remember what to do when in an emergency.