We’ve talked about this before but Hurricane-turned-Superstorm Sandy sparks a reminder of the importance of having a pre-determined family plan in place for serious situations where you’ll be called to duty — potentially for many days at a time — and unavailable to be with your family.
If a mass event is imminent (and here in the San Francisco Bay Area, that’s a daily danger), make sure you’ve covered the following with your family:
1.) Location of emergency supplies you have purchased ahead of time — flashlights, emergency radio, batteries, extra ammo — and what supplies (and in what quantities) your family will need to get while you’re gone.
2.) Phone numbers for those you know would be most helpful to your family in the event of an emergency. Remember, fellow first responders, although likely at the top of your family help list, will probably be in the same situation you’re in so consider others as well.
3.) Evacuation route plans created with potential mass panic and movement in mind.
4.) Strategies for handling loss of heat, water, electricity, and a full working knowledge of any back-up power systems you may have in place.
5.) Survival and self-defense tactics that may come into play in a mass emergency situation.
6.) Family member roles for everyone, including the kids, to ensure calm, effective teamwork in a chaotic situation.
7.) Several pre-plotted housing options, in various locations, should your family need to leave your home, as well as a public and easily-accessible, preferably outdoor rendezvous / rally point if meeting at those places is no longer an option.
8.) First aid. Is everyone up to speed should injuries occur and medical help isn’t readily available?
9.) What’s the plan for getting to relatives who may need help or getting them to you?
10.) What’s the crisis level bar for having your family contact you — no matter what — even though you’re busy and need to focus on your job and your safety?
You’ve accepted the difficult and honorable call to help others in a crisis. Pre-planning can help you ensure that doesn’t come at the expense of your own family.