There are two overriding worries that we inevitably have during a time of danger and emergency. First, we want to know that we are safe. (Are we at risk? What should we do? Where should we go?) Second, we want to reassure ourselves of the safety of others – especially, of course, of our closest friends and family members.
Many people look to address both of these concerns with one simple rule: when a disaster or an emergency strikes, every member of the family is to immediately return home and congregate there (as long as the disaster is not close to home). This allows family members to easily account for one another and quickly determine whether someone is missing. It also, in most situations, offers an optimal amount of personal safety. In your own home you will feel safe from war and terror. It may provide a basement to hide during a tornado and a rooftop to utilize in case of flooding. It also gives a family access to all its emergency storage supplies.
But there are some situations when returning home is simply unfeasible, when your apartment may be inaccessible or may actually pose a greater safety risk. What should you do in such situations? Where should your family congregate? It is important here to have a Plan B – a backup emergency meeting spot. More specifically, in fact, you need a Plan B, C, and D. Yes, three backup plans. Here’s generally how they should break down:
- Plan B: Meet outside your building. If you can’t meet inside your apartment for whatever reason, there are times (ex. in case of fire) where meeting on your street or even on the front stoop can make for a viable alternative. There’s no reason to meet far away if it’s not necessary, so this Plan B should always apply whenever the apartment itself does not offer a feasible location.
- Plan C: Meet somewhere near your building. If you can’t meet inside or outside of your apartment, the next step is to have a nearby destination in your neighborhood where your family members could easily congregate. This place will often be another home (that of your friends or relatives, for example). It could, however, just as easily be a park, a school, or a public building with which your family is familiar.
- Plan D: Meet somewhere far away. Finally, in cases when your whole town is under threat from an emergency, your family should have a Plan D meeting spot that lies some distance away. Picking this spot can be tricky because it needs to take multiple emergency possibilities into consideration (for example, it should not be located closer to a river in case of flooding) and it needs to be accessible for all family members.
These are the backup plans that your family should implement to insure contact and safety in an emergency situation. Although our apartments are often safe and we would generally want to congregate there, it’s essential to have contingency plans in place so as to insure preparedness no matter what the situation may present.
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Contributed by Samantha Peters of The Apartment Prepper’s Blog.