An emergency plan for your family
In the event of an emergency in your local area, in some cases it might take some time before the emergency services can help you. It may be that you have to fend for yourself for a while.
The best way to ensure your family's safety is to think about how you would cope with various types of emergency, regardless of the time or the location: how do I get outside in case of a fire, how do we reach each other when fixed and mobile phone services are disrupted, what to do when (public) transport is disrupted. Explain this plan to your family. If the children are old enough, prepare the plan together with them. You will save time and be better prepared for unexpected situations.
Twenty minutes: that is all you need to carry out minimum preparations.
Three situations can arise:
The family is apart
- If you cannot return home, you will need an easy way to find each other. Identify a meeting place in advance, such as a relative's home, sports centre, school or library.
- Teach your children how to identify themselves and call the right people to help them if you should get separated. Save the numbers of these contacts in the memory of their mobile phone (if they have one), or write them down in their notebook. Teach them the number 112, 100, 101 to call for help.
- In emergency situations, it may be easier to call long-distance than locally. Choose people outside the area who will be able to help you communicate and find each other. Tell them how they can help you. Communicate
Your children's safety will be a source of concern to you. In some circumstances (such as a release of chemicals or radiological substances), the authorities will recommend taking shelter, and not to go looking for your children on your own initiative. Teachers will follow the same recommendation and your children will shelter safely in their school.
The whole family is at home
- Listen to the radio or television to find out the instructions from the local authorities.
- It is possible that you have to shut off the electricity, water or gas.Do you know where the meters, the electrical distribution panel, the gas mains and drains of the house are located?
- Show everyone where they can find the emergency kit and fire extinguisher.
The family must vacate the property
- The whole family must know where the emergency exits from your home are, and where they can go in an emergency.
- In your plan, think of the elderly, people with a disability or people with special needs.
- Make a list of the medicines and items that will be necessary in the event of evacuation, as well as information that will be useful to medical staff. If you live alone, ask a friend or neighbour to check whether everything is OK and evacuate them if necessary.
- Besides your plan, certain documents will be useful. Make copies of your identity cards and insurance contracts. Don't forget your pets. Some shelters or hotels do not accept them. Think of friends of kennels that could accommodate them.
- Public services will provide emergency services fast, but cannot help everyone at the same time. If you are prepared, the emergency services can start by helping those who need help most urgently.
- Being prepared means that you will come through the situation better. Find out about the risks that can arise where you live. Prepare to cope with the most likely situations.