Family emergency and communications plan

A family emergency and communications plan will help family members know what to do during an emergency if they are separated from each other.

Planning ahead and communicating about emergency exits, safe meeting places and evacuation routes can help to ensure that families remain safe and can locate each other in an emergency.

Emergency exits and safe meeting places

Draw up a floor plan of your home that shows all possible exits from each room. Plan a main exit route and an alternate exit route from each room and from your home.

Identify the main evacuation route from your neighbourhood and also think of a second route of travel in case your main route is blocked.

Meeting places identify safe places where everyone should meet if you cannot go home or you need to evacuate. Write down a safe meeting place near home, one outside of the immediate neighbourhood and one outside of High River and ensure all family members know how to get there.

Arrange for each family member to call, email or text the same out-of-town contact person in case of an emergency. Choose an out-of-town contact who lives far enough away that he or she is unlikely to be affected by the same event. If you are new to Alberta or High River, it’s a good idea to make arrangements through friends, cultural associations or community organizations.

Emergency contact information

Create a contact list of any important phone numbers, addresses and emails that you may need in an emergency. Place copies of the list close to your telephone, in your car, backpack, purse, or briefcase and ensure every adult family member has at least one copy.

Be sure to include all members of the household’s cell and work phone numbers, as well as email addresses on the list. During an emergency you may not have access to your cell phone to look up contact information.

Important numbers to organizations should also be added including local police, fire department, hospital and poison control. Other details should include a family contact, out-of-town contact, friend or neighbour, as well as family doctor, insurance agents or home security company.

Personal and important documents

There are a number of vital personal documents that may pertain to your situation. Consider making a copy for each member of the family and for your “Ready-to-Go” Kit. Determine which of these items are important to you and your situation and keep them in a safe place, both inside and outside your home. You might want to put the originals in a safety deposit box. Examples include:

  • Individual ID profile and pet ID profile
  • Family photos
  • Individual photo of each family member (including pets)
  • Birth certificates
  • Passports (or colour copy of passports)
  • Immunization records
  • Marriage certificate
  • Land deeds
  • Adoption papers, custody or foster child records
  • Social insurance number
  • Driver’s license (colour copy)
  • Proof of citizenship, naturalization / immigration papers
  • Insurance information
  • Will and personal directives
  • A blank cheque from any and all banking accounts
  • Purse and wallet contents NOTE: Consider photocopying items in each family member’s purse or wallet that you consider important. This may include backs and fronts of all debit/credit cards, store loyalty cards, hospital cards, benefit and healthcare cards, ID cards issued by gyms, banks, clubs, etc. This makes it easier to replace the contents of your lost or stolen purse/wallet.

Know your office and school or daycare emergency procedures

Check with your employer about workplace emergency plans, including fire alarms, emergency exits, meeting points, and designated safety personnel or floor wardens and share these with your family. Ask your children’s school or daycare about their emergency policies. Find out how they will contact families during an emergency. Find out what type of authorization the school or daycare requires to release your children to a designated person in case you are unable to pick them up. Make sure the school or daycare has updated contact information for parents, caregivers and designated persons.

It’s important to update your emergency plan twice a year when you change your clocks. Review your contact information, practice your emergency evacuation plans, change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detector, and restock your Ready-to-Go and Ready-to-Stay Kit(s). It is also important to change the batteries, food and water in these kits.

More information can be found on Pages 8-16 of the Household Emergency Guide