Office of Work-Life Programs -
Ready Coast Guard Program
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Make a Plan - Emergency Plan Tips and Forms
By establishing and practicing a family emergency plan, you and your family
are more likely to find each other quickly and help one another get through
the emergency situation safely and with less worry. Some emergencies require
different responses than others, but a family plan and communications procedure will
be helpful in any case. Knowing how to keep in touch and find one another
will help your family stay safe and cope with the confusion and fear that
come when emergencies strike, especially if one of you is on duty in
- Plan for the various emergency situations or disasters that could
strike your family, considering potential hazards and weather patterns
in your region.
- Think about all the places you and your family may be throughout the
day, such as home, work, school, and in transit.
- Think through each possible emergency situation, and determine how
your family should respond.
- Gather input from all members of your family to consider all
possibilities and make them more likely to remember important steps when
an emergency happens.
- Establish meeting places both inside and outside your neighborhood and discuss situations in which to use
- Choose a contact person, a family member, or friend living somewhere
else whom you can all contact if an emergency strikes when you are
- Review the plan annually and whenever there are major changes in
your family situation, schedule, or activities.
Making an emergency plan is just the first step; you should practice it
at least twice a year. Describe to family members a hypothetical event and
tell them to follow the family emergency plan. Practice gathering your
emergency kit and important documents, communicating with one another, and
meeting at a designated place. Afterwards, discuss the actions you took and
how the plan would change in a different type of emergency.
You should understand the local mass warning system(s) and, when notified,
be prepared to evacuate, move to a civilian shelter or designated safe
haven, or temporarily shelter in place. You should plan primary and
alternative evacuation routes in advance, with appropriate maps to take
along in your emergency supply kit.
Be Part of the Solution
The Coast Guard’s mission may put personnel on duty in the thick of an
emergency. If their families know what to do, they can focus on their job to
help others and protect the country. No matter where you are when an
emergency strikes, if you are not on duty as a responder -
- Do your best to take care of yourself and your family; help
neighbors and others if you can.
- Leave the response to the professionals. Do not put yourself in
harm’s way and become part of the problem.
- Enable responders to focus on the most critical needs first.
- Stay alert for instructions. Do your best to remain flexible and
Other Forward Planning Opportunities
In addition to your family emergency plan, the Coast Guard encourages
you to take advantage of the
Personal Readiness Plan (PRP). The PRP is
broken into ten sections to provide you and your family a framework to
organize and store your personal information and paperwork, from
personal identity and financial documents to insurance policies, wills,
and estate plans.
Some of these plans, such as powers of attorney and wills may require
legal assistance. Find out more about legal advice and counsel
opportunities offered at no cost to service members, retirees, and
dependants by viewing the
Coast Guard Legal Assistance Page.