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Create an Emergency Plan to cover as many contigencies as you can imagine. Ask yourself, “What would I do if...?”

Think about likely risks, areas of vulnerability, and unusual circumstances and create a written plan or diagram for each situation. Remember to plan for roommates, a partner, children, or pets if you have them. Correlate plans with school, work place and neighborhood or city plans. The process of making these plans and thinking carefully about what to do in an emergency may be more important than the plan itself.

Communication is important. Make sure you know how to contact family members. Decide what to do if phone lines are down. Decide on meeting locations, one inside the home, one outside the home, and one outside the neighborhood, in case you can’t return.

Maintain a list of emergency numbers. Remember to keep a few numbers of out-of-state friends or family because in emergencies, local lines are often down. If you experience disaster, don’t call emergency personnel unless you are really experiencing a crisis you can’t solve. Emergency personnel will be very busy. It is important to free up lines for the worst cases.

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