Family Plan

All residents should have a plan. Emergencies happen when we don't expect them, and often when families are not together.

Suddenly, you need to think about your kids at school or elderly parents across town. If phones don't work, or some neighbourhoods aren't accessible, what will you do?

Having a family emergency plan will save time and make real situations less stressful.

Things to think about:
Where will you meet, how will you communicate?
Create your own Family Action Plan online at Emergency Management Ontario or Print and fill out the Family Emergency Plan Worksheet


During an emergency situation, it's important to remember that your child looks to you for guidance and comfort.
Remember that:

  • Children follow their parent’s lead – the calmer you are, the calmer they will be.
  • It's important to talk to them openly and honestly about what is happening. Try to explain the nature of the problem in a way they'll understand, and what's being done to correct it.
  • Never dismiss their fears or anxieties. You should try to monitor what they watch on television (news coverage of certain emergency situations can be distressing for children).
  • Reassure them by explaining that everything is under control and they will be safe.
  • If you must evacuate, bring a toy along (or a favorite board game); this may help to keep them occupied and provide them with additional comfort.
  • An evacuation will be made that much easier if children have practiced the routine regularly and know why they're doing it. They'll be less frightened if they're familiar with the routine.

Disaster Planning for Your Pet

The first rule to remember is if it’s too dangerous for you to stay, it’s too dangerous for your pet to stay. Proper planning and making arrangements before an emergency will increase your pet’s chances for survival and ability to cope.

  • Pets should not be left in an empty house or to roam free. Animals turned loose to fend for themselves are likely to become victims of starvation, predators, contaminated food or water, or accidents. 
  • If you board your pet at a kennel facility, reclaim your pet as quickly as possible because chances are, the facilities will be overcrowded and understaffed. 
  • The first couple of days following the disaster, be sure to put a leash on your pets when they go outside until they become familiar with their home again. 
  • Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and your pet may become confused and lost. 
  • The behavior of your pets may change after an emergency; normally quiet and friendly pets may become aggressive or defensive. 
  • It’s also important to keep a close eye on pets outside due to possible hazards of downed power lines. 
  • Be alert for rotted substances which your pet may find when released into your yard.

Seniors and Emergencies

It's important that seniors be educated about the potential for emergencies, the steps to take to be prepared and, the programs and services available to help get them through the emergency and return to their regular routine.
( In Oxford County, 17 per cent of all residents are 65+ according to 2011 Census.)

In addition to the basic emergency survival kit, it is essential that seniors being evacuated during emergencies take all equipment or devices they may need immediately with them.


Key areas to consider for seniors

  • Assistive devices such as canes, walkers, hearing aids, breathing apparatus, etc.
  • Prescription eyewear and footwear
  • Extra medications and vitamin supplements
  • Copies of prescriptions
  • Extra dentures (if required) and cleanser
  • Personal papers, identification
  • List of names and telephone numbers (such as family members, doctor, case worker, seniors’ group contact person, etc.)
  • Always wear your MedicAlert® identification (if applicable).

Support Network

If you anticipate needing assistance during an emergency, talk to family members, friends and others to see if they can provide support. 

You will also want to make sure that:

  • You include your support network in the development of your plan so they will know where you will go in case of an emergency. Arrange for someone to check up on you.
  • If you undergo routine treatments administered by a clinic or hospital or if you receive regular services such as home health care, treatment or transportation, talk to your service provider about their emergency plans. Work with them to identify back-up service providers and incorporate them into your personal support network.
  • Someone in your local network has an extra key to your home and knows where your emergency survival kit is stored.
  • You teach those who will help you how to use any necessary equipment and administer medicine in case of an emergency. Be sure they will be able to reach you.
  • Practice your plan with those who have agreed to be part of your network.
  • You have an emergency back-up plan that will ensure any life sustaining equipment is operable in the event of a power outage.

Special Needs

In a disaster, people with special medical needs have extra concerns. Be aware that experiencing an emergency can be overwhelming and stress can worsen some medical conditions.

special needs

Take the following steps if you or your family members have special medical needs: „

  • Make sure all your emergency kit items are organized in one place, easy to find and to carry.
  • Keep an emergency contact list on your person. This list should note key people that are aware of your special needs.
  • Tag all your special needs equipment including instructions on how to use and/or move each assistive device during an emergency
  • Consider wearing a MedicAlert bracelet or identification to help notify emergency responders about your special needs.
  • List all food/drug allergies and current medications and keep a copy in your emergency kit.
  • Have an extra three-day supply of any medical supplies you use, such as bandages, syringes, insulin. Medications or prescription eyewear.
  • For all medical equipment requiring electrical power such as beds, breathing equipment, or infusion pumps - check with your medical supply company and get information regarding a back-up power source such as a battery or generator.
  • If you use oxygen, have an emergency supply (enough for at least a three day period).
  • Prepare copies of vital medical papers such as insurance cards and power of attorney. „
  • If hearing impaired, determine how you will communicate with emergency personnel if there is no interpreter or if you don’t have your hearing aids. Store paper and pens for this purpose.
  • Service animals may become confused, frightened or disoriented during and after a disaster. Keep them confined or securely leashed or harnessed. A leash/harness is an important item for managing a nervous or upset animal.