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Family emergency plan

Dangers and emergency situations may threaten us without warning. In such situations human beings react automatically and are greatly influenced by previous thinking, knowledge and experience. There is no sense in starting to look for new responses to actual danger at the time it occurs. It is well known that people who prepared in advance and knew how to cope with emergency situations acted properly and saved themselves, their families and those near them.

Emergencies involving masses of people
In case of an emergency involving masses of people, once it is over rescue forces have difficulty in getting quickly to every place that has been hit in order to treat everyone who needs help, and people are forced to draw on their own resources to deal with their problems, sometimes for a long time.

Recurring emergency situations
Emergencies involving masses of people in situations threaten the general population that may be hurt, by their very nature are more rare, but there are emergency situations that occur more frequently, are more limited in their scope, although they sometimes have a more drastic effect on body and soul: traffic accidents, electrical short circuits that result in fire, a limited event involving hazardous materials, work-related accidents, etc.
Even in emergency situations of limited scope, because of the circumstances surrounding the event those involved in it may fund themselves isolated in their distress and forced to cope with their problems and handle them on their own, at least for a while. In situations such as these, too, there is great importance in the ability of the individual to save himself and those around him, and especially to do the things that have to be done quickly. Not doing these things immediately can cause irreversible harm, depending on the situation.

Advance planning and preparation
It is clear, therefore, that the right time for learning, training and preparation is actually in times of calm. The assumption that in time of trouble people will be able to follow instructions that they haven't prepared themselves for is greatly mistaken, so that it is necessary to create a regular, official planning and preparation process in advance.

1. We can find ourselves facing an emergency situation without warning. When put to the test, people tend to behave according to what they know and have experienced previously. There is no point to looking for new solutions for actual danger at the time it occurs. At that moment, reaction is automatic. So the time for training and preparation is clearly in periods of calm.

2. People tend to minimize the probability of potential threat or the seriousness of its possible consequences. Very few people pay any attention at all to planning their actions in time of emergency. Planning in advance allows for a better transition from routine to emergency and so facilitates continuous function – the assumption that people will be able to follow instructions that they haven't prepared themselves for is greatly mistaken.

3. Usually, the approach of most people is to adjust to a new situation. They cope with the situation and tend to act. In general, most of what people do in an emergency situation is done within a family context.

4. Whenever it is possible to predict events that will create pressure, and therefore to control them, function improves. For this reason, people need precise, clear information that also provides them with practical instructions concerning what they should do.

5. Families react positively to the suggestion that they create personal and family plans in anticipation of emergency situations, when the instructions for creating the plans are sufficiently clear and detailed. Such as: instructions for arranging a potential location for evacuation to a different location, preparing in advance a list of essential items for an emergency situation, especially arrangements in a secure space, and becoming familiar with them, designating specific tasks to members of the family and setting up the means for immediate communication in the event of a direct hit.

Creating a family emergency plan has several positive results:
1. It increases sense of efficiency and control over actions
2. It turns a "vague" threat into a more clearly defined situation
3. The distribution of tasks makes the family structure more effective in emergency situations
4. It becomes easier to make decisions in time of emergency
5. It reduces the chance of denial, as a threatening situation draws closer

A family emergency plan can turn the children into a positive factor for action when the family is preparing for an emergency situation.

 Stage 1: Gathering information on possible and significant emergency situations (identifying dangers and possible risks at home and in the surrounding area)

 Stage 2: A series of family discussions to plan the various things that have to be done before an emergency arises, together with an analysis of anticipated emergency situations and detailed analysis of all of the desirable and possible preparation processes.

 Stage 3: Actual implementation of all elements of the plan

 Stage 4: Periodic family discussions to make planning a regular feature and minimize over-dramatization of the family preparations, including refreshing the plan, rehearsing and practicing within the family and regular inspections of the supplies.

In emergency situations there is a tendency to bring the family cell closer together. When members of the family are not together in an emergency situation, they won't be calm until the danger passes. In emergency situation and crisis the family functions as a single unit. Members of the family will try to react to alarms together, looking for a place of shelter together.
When families experience emergency situations, the routines of their regular lives is disturbed, which is liable to impact the proper function of the family.