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Step 2: Preparing Personal Emergency Cards
By Sarah Anderson
After collecting required information, it is time to process that information into a family plan. The first step is to create a Personal Emergency Card for every family member.
It is recommended to do so with all family members, as a team. This will also be a good opportunity to start educating your children on the importance of carrying the card at all times and how and when to use it.
An Out-of-Town contact is a friend or a relative who lives out of town (preferably in a nearby town) and who family members would contact after a disaster to report their location. Be sure to inform the person that he or she is your family's out-of-town contact.
Every family member must know the Out-of-Town contact's phone numbers including home number, work number, cell phone number, pager, etc. Include these numbers in the family's communication plan (see below) and practice the numbers with your children to help them memorize it. It is also recommended to program these numbers as a speed-dial numbers into your phones.
When choosing an Out-of-Town contact, keep in mind that after a disaster it is often easier to make a long distance call than a local call from a disaster area.
A meeting location is a safe place right outside your home. This is where you should meet your family members in the event of an emergency that requires evacuation or if family members become separated from each other. Be sure to educate and train all family members how to get to this location.
It is also recommended to choose a secondary meeting location in a safe place outside your neighborhood. The secondary location is used if the primary location is not safe or cannot be reached.
Personal Emergency Cards
Personal Emergency Cards should be prepared for every family member to carry in their wallet, pocket or bag. This card should contain important information to be used after a disaster by family members or by local officials and relief workers.
It is wise to keep one copy of the emergency cards in the emergency kit and one in a safe location at home. You can also keep one copy with your Out-of-Town contact.
Personal Emergency Cards should include the following:
- Home address
- Social Security Number
- Blood type
- Meeting locations addresses
Family Communication Plan
A communication plan is a part of the complete Family Emergency Plan and is basically a contact list. The family communication plan should include the following:
- Police: 911 and an additional local number
- Fire Department: 911 and an additional local number
- Paramedics: 911 and an additional local number
- Out-of-Town contact
- Family member 1 *
- Family member 2 *
- Family member 3 *
- Family member 4 *
- Meeting locations phone numbers
- National Poison Control Center: 1-800-222-1222
* Contact information for all family members should include all work/school numbers, cell phone numbers, pagers, etc.
Additional Emergency Information
In addition to the communication information, add the following details to every family member's personal card:
- Meeting locations
- Important medical information
- Family Doctor (name and phone number)
- Health insurance policy number
Download an American Red Cross Emergency Contact Card (PDF File)
Download a Family Emergency Plan (PDF File)
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