Three Questions to Create Your Emergency Plan
Teton County Emergency Management wants you to know that disaster preparedness is not an all-or-nothing endeavor. Rather, it is a lifelong process comprised of low- to no-cost efforts that you can undertake as you have the time and ability. Whenever you take a small step to plan for adverse events, you take back control – even in the uncertainty of disaster.
A good (and free) way to start is by creating a simple emergency plan for your household. Begin by discussing the following three questions with your family, friends, housemates, or support network. Remember to consider the needs of children, the elderly, those with disabilities or access and functional needs, and pets.
1. How will we know what is going on and what we should do?
- Everyone with their own mobile device or access to the internet should sign up for Nixle, an alert system used by local authorities to distribute important safety information. To get free text message alerts, text TETON_WY to 888777. Reply with ESP for alerts in Spanish.
- Bookmark tcincident.org on your web browser. This site will be updated with important local incident information.
- Learn about other components of the Teton County’s emergency alert system by visiting tetoncountywy.gov/em.
2. What is our evacuation plan?
- Map out evacuation routes from your home, workplace, and anywhere else you spend time.
- Become familiar with alternate routes and other means of transportation out of your area.
- Realize that you may be separated from your loved ones when disaster strikes. Agree on at least two meeting places where you can go to reunite. One should be within your immediate neighborhood and another should be farther away.
3. What is our communications plan?
Do you know your loved ones’ phone numbers without looking in your phone?
- Collect all contact information from your household and write it down. Include contact information for other important people and organizations, such as medical facilities, doctors, schools, and service providers.
- Ask an out-of-state friend or relative to serve as your household’s emergency point of contact and document at least two forms of contact information for them. In an emergency or disaster, you can share updates through that person if local communication is unavailable.
- Try texting instead of calling during a mass emergency. When a network's voice channels are too overloaded to handle additional calls, a text message or SMS might still make it through. Visit fcc.gov/emergency for more emergency communications tips.
As you discuss the above questions, make sure to record your decisions. You can use the following tools:
Finally, practice your plan on a regular basis. You could perform twice-yearly evacuation drills during which everyone must get in touch with the out-of-state contact and then meet up at one of your predetermined locations.
Remember, preparedness is a process, not a benchmark. The first steps are within reach - start today!