In the instance of a natural disaster or other emergency, there is always the possibility you will not be with the rest of your loved ones.

As such, it is important to create a solid plan for how you all will reconnect if this happens, and to ensure all members of your family are familiar with it long before it ever needs to be implemented.

In times of disaster and chaos, it is likely normal lines of communication, like phones and the internet, could be unreliable or completely unavailable.

Planning in advance will help you bypass the inherent panic this situation could create.

To begin your planning, you should first collect paper copies of important contact information, including both phone numbers and physical addresses, for all family members, family healthcare providers, nearby medical facilities, schools and childcare facilities attended by family members, and service providers. You should also identify an out-of-town contact who can help your family reconnect.

In a disaster, local phone lines may be jammed, and you might have better luck making a long-distance call.

Provide a copy of this to each family member, and make sure they carry it somewhere it will always be nearby; like in their purse, backpack, or wallet.

You should also pin a copy in a central location in your home.

You should have several meeting places planned based on different scenarios:

• Indoor: In the case of a weather event, like a tornado or wind storm, make sure everyone knows where in the home to go for protection. This should ideally be a small, windowless room on the lowest level of your house.

• In your neighborhood: This is a place near your home your family will meet if you need to evacuate your house. It could be anything from a distinct tree to the mailbox at the end of your drive, or even a neighbor's house.

• Outside of your neighborhood: This is where you will meet if disaster strikes and you are unable to get back to your home. Good places to meet could include the local library, a community center, a church, or the home of a family friend.

The most important part of creating your family plan is practicing it.

Have regular household meetings to review and discuss your plan.

Make sure every family member knows important rendezvous points and steps to take if disaster strikes.

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