Family Disaster Plan and Personal Survival Guide


There are many different kinds of disasters. Earthquakes, floods, fires, airplane crashes, chemical spills, pipeline leaks and explosions, and others, small and large, which seldom give warning are equally devastating to their victims. This guide is primarily geared to earthquakes, but the planning you and your family do now will be of benefit when and if any disaster strikes you.

Family Meetings: At least once a year have a meeting with your family to discuss and update your plan and determine what training, equipment and supplies are needed. Occasional drills will assure quick reaction and avoid injury and panic in an emergency. Share your plans with neighbours, friends, relatives, and co-workers.

Preparedness Activities

  1. Learn how to protect yourself from falling objects, smoke, fire, caustic fumes, etc.
  2. Learn First Aid (available through your local Red Cross Chapter)
    Persons Trained: ____________________________ Date: ___________________
    Location of First Aid kit: ___________________________________
  3. Learn how and where to shut off utilities.
    Location of gas valve: _______________________
    Location of wrench: __________________________
    Location of main water valve: _______________________
    Location of main circuit breaker: _______________________
    Location of other utilities: ____________________________________________________
  4. Draw a Plan of your home
    On a piece of paper draw a floor plan of your home showing the location of exit windows and doors, utility cutoffs, First Aid Kit, emergency supplies, food, clothing, tools, etc. Be sure everyone in you household is familiar with it. Show it to baby-sitters and house guests when you're going to be away. They could use it to direct someone to a utility cutoff in an emergency.
  5. List alternate places to meet around home
    Outside: ___________________________________________
    Inside: _____________________________________________
  6. Alternate reunion locations when family is not at home, e.g. Red Cross shelter, neighbour, relative, park, school. ___________________________________________________________________-
  7. Learn and discuss school disaster policy. Church? Club? Other? Are medical consent forms complete? ___________________________________________________________
  8. Identify where emergency supplies and equipment are located.
    Fire extinguisher: ________________________________
    Flashlight/Batteries: _______________________________
    Portable radio: ____________________________________
    Tools: ___________________________________________
    Safety equipment: __________________________________
    Water: _________________________________________
    Sanitation supplies: ___________________________________
    Food: __________________________________________
    Cooking equipment: ________________________________
    Blankets: ________________________________________
    Extra eyeglasses: __________________________________
    Medication: ______________________________________
    First Aid Supplies: ________________________________
    Complete set of clothes, shoes, gloves: ________________________________________________________

After an Earthquake

be prepared for after shocks

  1. Put on Heavy shoes immediately to avoid injury from stepping on glass and other debris.
  2. Check for injuries and give first aid.
  3. Check for fires and fire hazards.
    1. Remove fallen objects from top of stove
    2. Sniff for gas leaks, starting at the hot water heater. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off main gas valve, open windows and carefully leave house. Do not turn lights on or off or light matches or do anything that makes a spark.
      Note: Do not shut off gas unless an emergency exists. Do Not turn it back on until the gas company or plumber has checked it out.
    3. If damage to electrical system is suspected, (frayed wires, sparks or the smell of hot insulation) turn off system at main circuit breaker or fuse box.
    4. If water leaks are suspected, shut off water at main valve.
  4. Check neighbours for injury.
  5. Turn on radio and listen for advisories. Locate light source if necessary.
  6. Do not touch downed power lines or objects touched by downed wires.
  7. Clean up potentially harmful materials.
  8. Do not use phone except for genuine emergencies.
  9. Check house, roof and chimney for damage.
  10. Check emergency supplies.
  11. Check to see that sewage lines are intact before continued flushing of toilets.
  12. Do not go sightseeing.
  13. Open closets and cupboards carefully.
  14. Cooperate with public safety officials. Be prepared to evacuate when necessary.

If you Must Evacuate

  1. Prominently post a message indicating where you can be found.
  2. Take with you
    1. First Aid Kit
    2. Flashlight, radio and batteries
    3. Important papers and cash
    4. Food
    5. Sleeping bags/blankets
    6. Clothes
    7. Toiletries and personal items
    8. Baby supplies

Special Health Needs

Keep a list posted of supplies/equipment that your particular family members may need to take with them in case of evacuation. Include such items as:

  1. Medication, insulin & syringes
  2. Dentures
  3. Eyeglasses, contact lens supplies
  4. Wheelchairs, walker, crutches
  5. Oxygen tanks
  6. Special dietary needs, special baby formula
  7. Name and number of family doctor and dentist

Pets In a Disaster

Pets are not permitted in shelters, so families should plan for their pets in the event of a disaster such as an earthquake.

If you must leave your home, you should very seriously consider provisions for leaving your pets behind. They should be confined to a basement, garage or bathroom. Leave only friendly dogs together. Never leave cats with dogs, even friendly dogs. Do not leave pets in a car with windows closed.

The most important task is to provide water. Dogs and cats adapt well to deprivations of food, but not water. Fill a tub or several buckets. Tie any vessel so that it cannot be tipped over.

It may be better to leave no food than to leave food which will spoil. It is probably best to leave only dry pet food, low in protein and fat.