Family Meetup Plan

Some emergencies strike without any warning and family members may not all be in the same place. How will you get in touch with each other? Where will you meet? What if your neighbourhood is being evacuated? It’s important to make a plan now so that you will know what to do, how to find each other and how to communicate in an emergency.

Pick the same person for each family member to call, text or e-mail. It might be easier to reach someone who is out of town. Text, don’t talk, unless it’s an emergency. It may be easier to send a text, if you have a phone, and you don’t want to tie up phone lines for emergency workers.

Choose a meetup spot outside of your neighbourhood in case you cannot get home. Practice getting there from school, your friends’ houses and after school activities. Get to know what your school emergency plan is, how they intend to communicate and with whom.

Keep your family contact information and meetup spot in your backpack, wallet or taped inside your school notebook. Put it in your cell phone if you have one. There are a number of examples online that can be printed out and filled in. One for each member of the family. Yes, even the obvious ones. Sometimes in an emergency situation, we will forget under stress even the most often used numbers.

Print out a Communications Plan and fill it in with your family AND PRACTICE!

In a large scale emergency, you may not be able to use your cell phone, so have a backup plan and a pre-determined meetup spot.

What Makes a Good Meetup Spot?

Is it easy to recognize day or night?

For example, a school in another neighborhood might be a good spot. However, if there are evacuations, chances are schools may also be set up as emergency shelters. While that can be good thing, it can also make it more busy and difficult to find each other. If it’s a larger location like a school or mall, be sure you have a specific spot to meetup, that way you won’t be waiting for each other on opposite sides of the location.

Is it easy to find and remember?

Pick somewhere that may be familiar to all family members.

Is it generally a safe spot?

Is it a safe place to meetup? Pick a place that is well lit at night, not a lot of street traffic and where your family feels comfortable. The last thing you need in an emergency is to go to some strange place. At least a school or first aid office is familiar. If it’s just a spot to meetup outside in case something happens to the house, make sure it is a safe distance away, not just your mailbox or the curb. Do small children have to cross the street to get there? If it is a neighbour’s house, do your children know their names?

The good thing about having several meetup spots is if an emergency happens where one meetup spot is no longer an option, you automatically have a second place to go, no panicking needed. Be sure to practice meeting up at your spots at least once a year to keep them fresh in your mind.

For more information:

http://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/plns/styngtchmrgncs-en.aspx