It is normal human behavior that one of the first mental responses following any major emergency is concern for the welfare of the individual’s family and home. Staff persons who are worried about their family’s well-being will not be effective until they have reassurance that their family is all right. Knowing that their family has planned, prepared and rehearsed what to do in a disaster will go a long ways in providing such reassurance. We encourage all congregants and especially the staff to develop their own, personal, family/home emergency plan. At a minimum, individual/family disaster preparedness requires the following:
· Enough emergency supplies to last 3-5 days to function without the normal utility, supply and transportation infrastructure, i.e. without phones, trips to the stores, electricity or an outside source of water.
· Preparations for taking care of the children if the event happens while the parents are at work.
· The identification of an out-of-area telephone number or e-mail address and person to be contacted for family check-in and to serve as the point of communication between family members until they can rejoin. Connecting out-of-area calls often happens quicker than local calls after a disaster. However, remember that the telephone and internet communications may be unusable for a period of time after a disaster.
· Evacuation and reassembly instructions if evacuating your home. Identify the new spot where the family will gather and determine what will each person needs to take. Be sure to plan for your pets.
After your plan is worked out and your family members know what to do, review your disaster plan with some or all of your co-workers. Then be prepared to help each other out.
· Know how & when to shut off utilities both at home and at work.
· Know how to use fire extinguishers and where they are located.
· Pre-assign immediate response tasks at work.
· Make a realistic plan for staff coverage in emergencies.