Making a Family Emergency Plan
Five practical steps to help protect your home during the coronavirus outbreak
Coronavirus continues to have a serious impact in communities across Texas. Handwashing, wearing masks when you go out in public, and practicing social distancing are good ways to minimize the risk of getting infected.
But, have you and your family made plans in case someone (or everyone) becomes sick? Don't wait until it's too late! Have an emergency plan in place and ready to go. Here are five things you can do today:
Step One: Plan for the Children
Ask someone who can safely care for your children if the adults in the house get sick. Choose somebody:
- who wants to and can help you,
- who is healthy,
- who you can trust with your child
- who is not at increased risk of infection, like older individuals or people with chronic lung or heart disease or who get sick easily.
Step Two: Gather Support and Supplies
- Reach out to friends in your community and create a support network of families that can help with caring for your pets, errands and household needs like shopping and picking up medicine while you're sick.
- Make sure you have some basic cleaning supplies on hand to disinfect and clean your home, including soap, bleach, and gloves.
- Make sure you have enough personal care items, like soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes to last for two weeks so you don't run out.
- Talk to your health care providers about getting a two-week supply of all medicines you need and how to have refills mailed to your home.
Step Three: Update your Family's Emergency Information
- When you're sick, the last thing you want to do is hunt down a phone number. Grab something to write with and gather the following information:
- A complete list of yours and your children's current doctors, including how to contact them.
- Your pharmacy's information and all their contact information.
- A list of all family medications, and how to take each medicine
- Post this information in your home in a place that everybody can see it and be sure to make updates whenever the information changes.
- Share this information with the people you have asked to help you now.
- Download an Emergency Information Sheet you can fill out, save, print, and share.
Step Four: Everybody Can Help, Even the Kids.
- Talk to the kids in your home about what's going on and how they can help you.
- Show children how to wash hands and practice social distancing.
- Children under the age of two should not wear a mask. If your child is old enough to wear a mask, explain why it's important to keep it on when you travel outside the home.
- Explaining what rules need to be followed and why they are important can go a long way in setting expectations and managing fears.
Step Five: Prepare for Two Weeks of Recovery
- If you or other family members are sick, you'll need to plan for two weeks of isolation while you or they recover. Isolation means sleeping in a separate bedroom and using a separate bathroom if possible, using separate eating utensils or disposable plates, and washing bedding and clothing separately or in water as hot as possible.
- The Center for Disease Control has detailed resources for families dealing with sickness. Here are some detailed links that can guide you: