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Publication #FAR8711

Having a Family Emergency Plan1

Amy Simonne2

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As much as we think we can have control of everything, as we have seen, natural disaster can strike anyone, anytime, and anywhere ... be it tsunami, hurricane, flood, or all of the above!

If you haven't already, you and your family should prepare an emergency plan for such an event. Develop a specific plan; then review it frequently with all members of the household. Make a list of items considered essential in the event of evacuation, such as special medications and foods for those on special diets, and collect all these items in one location. Have enough containers, utensils, and paper goods. If commercial bottled water is not available, collect several food-grade containers for storing water and food. These containers should be lightweight and easy to carry to make potential evacuation more efficient. Maintain an adequate supply of paper goods, such as paper towels and toilet paper.

As the supply of clean water may be limited following an evacuation, it is recommended that a supply of sanitary hand wipes be purchased. A sufficient quantity of shelf-stable, nonperishable foods should also be on hand. It's important that your family maintains their strength during and after the storm. Therefore, be sure to consider nutrition, as well as likes and dislikes of family members (especially children) when stocking up on food. When a disaster strikes, your emergency plans will help your family maintain a minimal level of safety and health while waiting for help.

Listening, learning, and living together: it's the science of life. "Family Album" is a co-production of University of Florida IFAS Extension, the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and of WUFT-FM. If you'd like to learn more, please visit our website at

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Federal Emergency Management Agency and American Red Cross. (2004). Food and water in an emergency. Retrieved August 7, 2007, from

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. (2005). Boil water notice guidelines. Retrieved August 7, 2007, from

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. (2005). Hurricane preparations: Safety tips and items to buy. Retrieved August 7, 2007, from

Florida Department of Health. Hurricane and Severe Weather Information. Retrieved September 25, 2012, from

Florida Department of Health. (2005). State of Florida family preparedness guide. Retrieved August 7, 2007, from



This document is FAR8711, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Broadcast as program 262. Published April 2009. Reviewed January 2015. In the interest of time and/or clarity, the broadcast version of this script may have been modified. Visit the EDIS website at


Amy Simonne, associate professor, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.