The Importance of Creating a Family Emergency Plan

Some life events will change the fabric of what it means to be part of your family. These are called family emergencies and can be as mundane as hospital visits or as dire as a death in the family.

Family emergencies are one of the most dreaded events of a lifetime. They often involve injury or sickness and could have consequences that will last a lifetime.

Preparing for a family emergency can entail many aspects of survival and planning. Depending on the crisis, the task could be tiny or immense, but most importantly could happen at any time. Some steps to take in a family emergency are:

  • Brainstorm
  • What are your needs?
  • Make it official
  • Practice

Planning for a family emergency can be one of the most stressful situations in which some people are ever placed. While danger is involved, being prepared will take away a good part of that stress. Continue reading to find the elements you need to make a successful emergency plan for your family.

Steps to Take in a Family Emergency

Knowing what to do in a crisis can make you ignore the pain and suffering while working towards resolving the problem. Having a purpose in an emergency can provide needed clarity and mean the difference between life and death.

Once you have a plan in place, it should be displayed for the whole family to see. Use a site everyone goes to, like the kitchen, and make the plan evident to all. The steps to creating a family emergency plan are as follows:


What can go wrong? That is the first question you should ask yourself when preparing a plan.

The answer should always be whatever can go wrong will go wrong. Build your strategy off of family medical history.

If there are any significant illnesses or disabilities, you should have the medicine or equipment ready. What kind of emergencies can happen in your area? Weather-related issues can spring up in any environment at a moment’s notice.

Do you live near a military base? Nuclear power plant? Every situation should be taken into consideration.

What Should a Family Emergency Plan Include?

A family emergency plan should document all necessary info for each family member. This includes contact names, addresses, blood type, allergies, medications, and medical conditions. It also needs to tell how to receive emergency broadcasts and designate meeting areas in case of evacuation.

What Are Your Needs

This was discussed in brainstorming but must be carried out to produce a rigid set of equipment. It is hard to plan for an emergency when you don’t know what that could be. That is understandable and is a significant reason that most people do not make an emergency family plan.

This plan will give your family directions on how to react to whatever situation may arise. The type of emergency will depend on several factors. The best thing to do in this stage is to make a list. Things to include on your list are: 

  • Medicine
  • Children
  • Diet
  • Pets
  • Ages of family members
  • Spoken languages
  • Locations of interest

Like going on vacation, you are making a plan that requires more thought. Whatever the situation may happen to be, you should have the information and materials that you need after going through this stage of creation.

Make it Official

The best thing to do with your plan is to make it official by writing it down and making the family sign it. This may sound like a crazy formality, but this is very important and should be taken that way at every step of the process.

Making a contract with your family will ensure that they all understand that they must put aside their routine in an emergency to help support the family.


This part should be a practical exercise that tests the limits of your plans. If you have several different scenarios, a fire drill is a perfect example; you should ensure that everyone knows their job and what they need to do.

You should practice so much that it becomes second nature. In a crisis, your mind will want to run or take cover. It would be best if you made the practice routine groove in your mind so that you do it on instinct. Lives could be at stake, and standing around never solved anything.

Practicing all the plans you have could turn into a time-consuming ordeal. Take time to practice more prolonged situations on separate days. Once everyone memorizes their jobs, you can move on to the next exercise.

What Do I Need To Be Prepared For An Emergency?

In an emergency, it is essential to prepare by storing at least two weeks’ worth of canned goods and bottled water. You’ll also need an NOAA weather radio, a battery-powered flashlight, a first aid kit, and a family emergency plan.

What Constitutes a Family Emergency?

An emergency can happen at any time in any place and involves a level of danger. When a family emergency strikes, you should have the plan to keep the family running until things return to normal. The most common types of family emergencies are:

  • Car Accident
  • Hospital stay
  • Weather-related
  • Death

Car Accident

Surviving a collision with injuries is very common, meaning you might be an uninjured rider having to handle the fallout of a deadly situation or the injured person depending on someone else. Since there are so many vehicles on the road, being prepared for a car accident is a good bet. The steps to take after a traffic collision are:

  • Check the passengers
  • Unload from auto (if applicable)
  • Call the authorities
  • Help traffic
  • Assist as needed

Check the Passengers

Once the cars have both come to a complete stop, you should check on the other passengers to see if they need assistance. It would be best if you didn’t move anyone who says they can’t feel sections of their lower body.

Displaced vertebrae in the spine can be painful and could cause paralysis if moved the wrong way. Keep the neck and hips as stable as possible if you remove someone from a burning vehicle.

Unload From the Vehicle (If Possible)

One of the by-products of a high-speed crash is twisted metal. Often after a wreck, you can’t open some of the doors or the trunk. This is to be expected. If someone is trapped in the vehicle, you must keep them calm until someone comes to remove them. Panic at a car accident will be running rampant.

A plan of action will remove some of this panic and give you a sense of purpose. That sense of purpose can create enough will to make it through any job you might have to complete.

Call the Authorities

One of the first things you should do after the passengers are accounted for is to find a way to call for help. This could mean removing yourself from the car and searching for a cell phone or a trek to the nearest house to call an ambulance.

If you cannot move from the wreckage, you should try and blow the horn or use the flasher to alert nearby motorists. Creating a racket always leads to someone coming to check out what the situation is. If you are persistent enough, you should be able to call for help.

Help Traffic

If you have had an accident on a major highway or interstate, you might have to help other motorists navigate the wreckage. You should make sure that the lane, or lanes, is clear before sending anyone through to the other side.

Doing this also gives you a better view of when the medics will arrive. Giving someone the comfort of knowing that help is on the way could be critical to their mood and performance during the emergency.

Assist as Needed

When the medics and law enforcement arrive on the scene, if you are able, try and help them in any way possible. They could have you back working the traffic or need you to help pull someone from one of the vehicles. Keep in mind that these people might not want your help. If that is the case, move away and begin to spend time with the other passengers. In an emergency, every little bit helps.

What Is The Purpose of a Family Emergency Plan?

As a general rule, a Family Emergency Plan is a document that outlines the steps to take in the event of an emergency. This includes information on where to go, who should be contacted, and what resources are available. It also includes contact information for those outside of your immediate family.

Steps to Take During a Hospital Stay

A prolonged hospital stay can throw your family into a tailspin. If a family member is forced to undergo prolonged treatment, you should have a plan that takes care of them while the rest of the family continues along as normally as they can. The things to do when you are going in for an extended hospital stay are:

  • Power up
  • Set the money
  • Stay in the loop
  • Get fit
  • Make friends

Power Up

This doesn’t mean acquiring superpowers or attaching yourself to a high-voltage machine; that is for the hospital to do. Power up means giving someone power of attorney over your healthcare.

This could include a DNR or whatever your wishes may be. You never know when a routine stay could turn into something that may take you out of consciousness. Having someone you trust to make the decisions for you means that you can work towards getting better and not be heaped with worries.

Set the Money

Power of attorney can also apply to this, but lumping all your financial matters together isn’t bad. The easiest way is to add someone to your existing bank account. That means they can write checks and withdraw money just like you.

Keeping the bills paid and other monetary issues dealt with can be extremely taxing. Trusting someone to have your back in this situation can cause stress. Use someone who will not take advantage of your situation.

Stay in the Loop

With the technology available today, there is no reason you can’t stay in touch with your family while you are in the hospital. Hospitals usually have free wifi, but if they don’t, you can use your phone as a hotspot or even buy a cellular hotspot separate from your phone line.

Seeing friends and having an outlet that gets you ‘outside’ the hospital can be invaluable to a patient’s recovery. Taking a game system inside a hospital room may not be accepted if they are into gaming. If that is the case, you can find smaller handheld games and tablets with great games comparable to what you see on the primary game systems.

Get in Shape

This doesn’t mean that you trim down your marathon time or set a PR in the deadlift. While in for treatment, you will need to walk around the hospital and get some exercise. Being cooped up in a room for days on end will do nothing for your illness, whereas getting a walk in every day will allow your mind to forget what it is undergoing and enjoy moving about the area.

Usually, hospitals are sprawling complexes with long hallways and covered walkways. Depending on your situation, you could take a morning constitutional or have someone give you a ride in your wheelchair.

Make Friends

Stays in the hospital are boring. There isn’t anything going on most of the time, and the newness will wear off after a day or two. There isn’t a better time to meet the people who work there and get to know them. As the shifts change and the days pass, you will begin to see their patterns and figure out who they are.

Some lasting friendships have been made between nurses and their patients. If a person knows the nurses and doctor staff are good at their jobs, it will give them a safe state of mind that will allow them to be open to more treatments.

House Fire

The Steps You Need to Take in a House Fire

A house fire is one of the most damaging things that a family can go through. You can take precautions with your family emergency plan to involve what to do in a fire. The steps to take in a house fire are:

  1. Fire extinguisher
  2. Alert the house
  3. Call the pros
  4. Leave valuables behind
  5. On fire trio
  6. Cover face
  7. Close doors
  8. Stay out
  9. Meeting spot

Fire Extinguisher

Once you see a fire inside the home, you should grab the fire extinguisher and do your best to fight it. If it gets too big to put out, don’t worry, your main goal is to create time to alert the others of a fire.

Often you could have the wrong type of retardant in the canister, and it will be worthless on the fire. If you have a way to use water, it will help, but it could also lead to electrocution if wires become melted and exposed to water.

Alert the House

Once you have seen that the fire isn’t going to be stopped, you need to tell everyone in the house. They must get out any way that they can. If you have to lower some people from a second story, do what needs to be done to ensure your family members are safe.

Pound on and kick indoors to alert people about the fire. Some family members might need extra coaxing to wake up if it occurs during the night. If they think it is a dream and go back to sleep, it could be deadly for them and fire personnel when they arrive.

Call the Pros

Once everyone is alerted to the fire and headed towards the exits, you should call the fire department. They are specially trained to handle fire and display some of the most heroic traits in the human condition.

Once the trucks arrive, they will use water or foam to contain the fire. As the fire is contained, they will start to work on putting it out. The department’s job is to protect the community. If your house fire is in danger of starting other fires, they will contain it before they put it out.

Leave Valuables Behind

Don’t try and rush back inside the fire to save a television or other petty items that can be replaced. The safety of you and your family is what matters now. Once the fire is doused, you could save a few things, but if you have a ‘total loss’ fire, the insurance company will repay you for everything inside the home.

The heat inside a house fire will incinerate you if you make the stupid decision to run back in for something that isn’t living. Items can be replaced; family members cannot.

On Fire Trio

A saying that you don’t hear often enough is ‘Stop-Drop-And Roll!’ What we call the fire trio is remembering what to do if you catch fire. This can be a scary event, so the cadence gives your mind something to recollect as your pain sensors run wild.

Once you notice that you have clothing on fire, you should stop moving. It will keep oxygen from making the fire grow once you have finished dropping to the ground and beginning to roll around. This rolling will trap the fire between your body and the earth, robbing it of needed oxygen.

Cover Your Face

Fire is full of chemicals that will do a number on your lungs. Find a towel or t-shirt to place over your nose and mouth. It would be better if it were wet, but in this situation, anything to keep those chemicals from burning your nose and throat will do.

Take special care not to wear a mask that may obscure your vision. A clear line of sight is something that might not be available. Keep your eyes uncovered; you will need them.

Close Doors

It may not be common knowledge, but closing the doors behind you in a fire will keep the fire from spreading. As you maneuver the halls of your home, waking or alerting the other residents as they leave each room, you should ensure the door is closed.

Another reason to close the door is that it will give the firefighters a good idea of where you could alert people and where you weren’t.

Stay Out

Once you are confident that all the family members are out of the house, do not, for any reason, go back inside. Items can be replaced; if an animal didn’t make it out, you could find another. You can never replace a family member.

Even though animals take a higher station in today’s life, they should not take precedence over a human family member. Another good reason not to run back inside is that fire personnel could be forced to run in after you. Don’t put lives in danger needlessly.

Meeting Spot

In your family plan, you should have an assigned meeting spot for your family to meet up after the fire. Nothing can soothe the pain of losing your home, like being able to hug your family. Knowing they are all safe should give you a modicum of satisfaction before delving into the deeper problems that will arise from the fire.

Build a First Aid Kit

One of the necessities when making an emergency plan is a medkit like you find in any sporting goods section. Different versions of medkit are available worldwide, with a wide array of options and kits. It is best to have a tourniquet and something to clean wounds. Those should always appear in a medical bag. A few other things that should be present in the medical supplies are:

  • Painkillers
  • Bandages
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Gauze
  • Water
  • Scissors
  • Gloves
  • Eye protection
  • CPR mask
  • Tape
  • Soap
  • Hand sanitizer

This equipment should all fit in a small backpack and be with you everywhere you go. An even better idea is to have a kit in every car and home you have. This way, if something ever happens, you know that extras are available. Having two of everything is always a great idea!

Your medical information is not on the list of items that should go into the medkit. Blood type and birthdate are two things that can help the authorities when they arrive on the scene. Having copies of your identification and insurance cards would be a good idea to keep with you at all times.

Recommended First Aid Kits

As was mentioned earlier, there are tons of great models of medkits out there. The camping and hiking industry has always emphasized innovation, and medkits have benefitted greatly. There are medkits for every kind of situation you can imagine.

Buying a medkit for your particular situation might be a bit harder, but the options below will give you some essential things for emergencies.

200 Piece Pro Kit by SwissSafe

Swiss Safe 2-in-1 First Aid Kit for Car, Travel & Home, Businesses - Bonus Mini Kit for Medical Emergency Aid, Survival, Camping - FSA & HSA Eligible - 200-Piece, 1 Pk - Red - Medium
  • All-Purpose, Comprehensive Emergency Kit: Boasts 200 pcs of medical supplies, making it one of the...
  • Compact, Light & Durable: Tailored for ultimate portability, this first aid kit is meticulously...
  • Thoughtfully Organized + Bonus Mini Kit: Perfect for the adventurer at heart or for keeping close at...
  • Multi-use First Aid Kit: With an interior that's organized to perfection, this kit ensures that...
  • Anytime Meets Peace of Mind: This first aid kit is celebrated not only for its comprehensive basic...

Bright red pack with white cross emblazoned on the front Signaling mirror Waterproof
Tri-fold Pockets inside Saw
Fishing hooks Ferro rod Compact
Pain killers Alcohol wipes Water
Scissors Solar blanket Bandages

The first thing you notice about the SwissSafe 200 piece is the bright red coloring of the pack. It is a vibrant red with a white cross emblazoned on the front. The package is waterproof and is tri-fold, allowing you access to the pockets inside.

This pack has everything you need in a life-saving emergency and some survival equipment. A tiny saw, fishing hooks inside, and a Ferro rod will help you start a fire. All this, plus the live-saving tools inside, are packed into a pack smaller than your hiking boots.

Be Smart, Get Prepared 250 Piece Kit

Be Smart Get Prepared OSHA/ANSI First Aid Kit - 50 Person, 250 Pieces - Designed for Home, Business, School, Industrial, and Restaurants - Compact & Portable
  • FIRST AID KIT - Created by the leading manufacturer of first aid kits in the USA, this OSHA / ANSI...
  • WE GOT YOU COVERED - Provides treatments for cuts, scrapes, lacerations, aches, pains, burns, and...
  • NANO SILVER TECHNOLOGY - Features SILVEX Wound Gel, an all-purpose gel used to inhibit the growth of...
  • SAFE AND SECURE - Meets and exceeds OSHA and ANSI 2009 guidelines for 50 people. Ideal for...
  • COMPACT AND STURDY - Fully organized interior compartments provide quick access. Wall mounts are...

Treats up to 50 patients Alcohol wipes Antiseptic towels
Ointment packets Burn cream Sting relief
Cold packs Antacids Aspirin/Non-Aspirin
Bandages Sterile gauze Paper towels
Splint Tweezers Scissors

Be Smart, Get Prepared isn’t just one of the best slogans you can have; it is also the name of the company that makes this kit. They can service over 50 casualties with the equipment inside the giant plastic box.

If you have a larger family, this could be just what you need to make a kit that can travel with you anywhere. If you are a couple, the meds in this kit could last for months or even years before you begin to run low.


Planning for an emergency is a nebulous act that may never come into being. No matter your family location or situation, you should have a proper plan to take on whatever comes your way. One of the most important things to do in any emergency is to keep cool.

If you are in a position to save someone’s life, you cannot let the moment keep you from acting. A plan and proper practice will make your brain begin to work on instinct. It will start to perform the routines you went over with your family in the emergency planning stages.

It will also give you a bit of clarity about a tumultuous situation. When it is time to act, you must not hesitate. Lean on your training and planning, and everything will be just fine.

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