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Family Disaster Planning

            Disaster can strike quickly and without warning. It can force an individual or a family to evacuate the neighborhood or confine one to the home. Family disaster planning is more relevant in the western countries of the world like the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom because most residents of those countries have always had social amenities that other countries around the world may not have. When my family wanted to have a disaster plan, my wife and I started by asking ourselves, what would we do if basic services--water, gas, electricity or telephones--were cut off in our house or what would we do if there is an hurricane, earthquake, fire, or flood? We knew that even though local officials and relief workers might be on the scene after a disaster, they might not be able to reach everyone right away. In summer of 2001, the Allison storm hit the Houston area and many families were devastated because they did not have plans for emergency. We did not want to be caught unawares, so my wife and I decided to create a plan for disaster. .
             We started our disaster planning by contacting the local Red Cross chapter and we were told what types of disasters were most likely to happen in the Houston area and how to prepare for each of them. We also learned about our community's warning signals: what they sound like and what we should do when we hear them. We asked about animal care after a disaster and we were told that animals are not allowed inside emergency shelters because of health regulations. In addition, we found out how to help my grandmother who stays with us in case a disaster strikes. We found out about the disaster plans at our workplaces, our children's day care center, our church, and other places where our family spends time.
             After that, we created a disaster plan by meeting with our family and discussing why we need to prepare for disaster. We explained the dangers of fire, severe weather, and earthquakes to our children.

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