10 key points for your family’s crisis plan

Submitted by:
Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor in Chief


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.

Doug Wyllie is Editor in Chief of PoliceOne, responsible for setting the editorial direction of the website and managing the planned editorial features by our roster of expert writers. An award-winning columnist — he is the 2014 Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" winner in the category of Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column — Doug has authored more than 900 feature articles and tactical tips on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community.

On a daily basis, Doug is in close personal contact with some of the top subject-matter experts in law enforcement, regularly tapping into the world-class knowledge of officers and trainers from around the United States, and working to help spread that information and insight to the hundreds of thousands of officers who visit PoliceOne every month.

Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

Even in his "spare" time, he is active in his support for the law enforcement community, contributing his time and talents toward police-related charitable events as well as participating in force-on-force training, search-and-rescue training, and other scenario-based training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.

Contact Doug Wyllie

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