Create a Family Emergency Plan
print friendly textonly
Create a Family Emergency Plan

Every household should prepare an Emergency Plan that includes all the information needed for each member of the household following a major disaster. Making a written plan will help you identify what you will need during an emergency so that you can have the resources on hand ahead of time. It also identifies key tasks that may need to be assigned in advance.

Writing the Plan
Family members, including children, should be involved in preparing a disaster plan for the home.  The plan should be posted in a convenient place to be near at hand when the first threat of disaster has ended. Plans should be reviewed periodically and updated as needed.

Assign Responsibilities
There will be many things to care for after an earthquake.  Talk to your family, friends and neighbors and assign specific responsibilities to each person, remembering that it may be difficult to get around after an earthquake, so each person's tasks should be related to where he or she may be. Include your baby-sitter and/or other regular household help in your plans.

Stock Supplies
Stock up on at least a three-day supply of food, water, clothes, medical supplies and other necessary equipment for everyone in your family. Make sure everyone knows where to find them.

Keep an extra pair of eyeglasses and house and car keys on hand. Keep extra cash and change. If electricity is out, you will not be able to use an ATM.

Reunification and Contact
Decide where and when to reunite your family should you be apart when an earthquake happens.

Choose a person outside the immediate area to contact if family members are separated as long distance phone service will probably be restored sooner than local service. However, please do not use the phone immediately after an earthquake as all available phone lines will be needed for emergency reporting.

Family Members with Special Needs
Know the policies of the school or daycare center your children attend. Make plans to have someone pick the children up if you are unable to get to them.

If any family member does not speak English, prepare an emergency card, written in English, indicating that person's identification, address and any special needs such as medication or allergies. Tell that person to keep the card with him/her at all times.

Practice your Plan!
Conduct "Duck, Cover & Hold" drills every six months with your family. Know the safest place in each room because it will be difficult to move from one room to another during a quake.

Establish all the possible ways to exit your house. Keep those areas clear.

Locate the shutoff valves for water, gas and electricity. Learn how to shut off the valves before a quake. If you have any questions, call your utility company.

Protect your Records
Make copies of vital records and keep them in a safe deposit box in another city or state. Make sure your originals are stored safely. Take photos and/or videos of your valuables. Make copies and keep them in another city or state.

Get Information Now
Call your local Red Cross chapter and Office of Emergency Services before a quake occurs to find out about their plans for emergency shelters and temporary medical centers in case of such a disaster. Know the locations of the nearest fire and police stations.

For more information call (650) 286-3350 or e-mail

City Hall - 610 Foster City Blvd.
Foster City, CA 94404
(650) 286-3200