LDS Emergency Preparedness

Be Prepared, Not Scared!

Family Emergency Plan

Posted by Elise on October 21, 2009



Practice Makes Perfect

How will your family react when a flood, fire, earthquake, act of terrorism, or another emergency occurs? How well does your plan identify everyone’s roles and responsibilities?

One way to find out how well your plans and procedures are going to work is to practice them! Plan a drill based on a possible flood, fire, earthquake, or other disaster. Testing your plans this way will help you identify and correct any weaknesses before a real emergency occurs.

Another way to test your plan is to practice living without the normal everyday conveniences—such as electricity and gas. This might include a campout.

This Focus Sheet provides guidance for planning your own drills. Testing your family’s response and correcting weaknesses is the next step in preparing and might save lives in the next flood, fire, earthquake, or other emergency.

Planning Drills

A drill allows your family to practice your plan.  The drill should be designed to provide participants with experience in their roles before a real emergency, increase the confidence of family members, and identify weaknesses in your plan.

Tabletop Drill

Start by planning a tabletop drill. The tabletop will be based on a simulated earthquake or another disaster and will include problems that you and your family are likely to face.

To conduct the tabletop:

  • Assemble participants around a table or in the same room.
  • Distribute printed copies of the scenario.*
  • Read the scenario aloud.
  • Read each problem, one at a time.
  • Encourage everyone to respond as completely as possible to each question.

As solutions and alternatives are discussed and evaluated, remind participants that comments are designed to identify problems and are not meant to criticize an individual person.

Functional Drill

The next step is planning your functional drill. Functional drills provide an opportunity for the members to practice their assignments, including make-believe searches, treatment of victims and the actual completion of applicable checklists.

* A written description of a simulated earthquake or another disaster that is used for tabletop drills is called a scenario.

To Conduct an Effective Drill:

  • Add new and more challenging problems to the scenario used in the tabletop.
  • Set up separate drills for each function. For example:

Date                                        Function

Jan. 19                                    First Aid and Medical

April 24                                  Damage Assessment

July 27                                    Light Search and Rescue

Oct 5                                       Shelter

  •  Explain the purpose and ground rules of the drill.
  • Read the scenario aloud.
  • Distribute packets containing new or additional information to be opened at designated times.
  • Instruct participants to follow procedures outlined in their packets.
  • Instruct participants to dress in appropriate gear, refer to applicable checklists and carry out their post emergency functions.
  • Begin the drill.
  • Complete the drill when tasks are complete or after an hour.
  • Designate experienced people to observe and evaluate your drill for strengths and weaknesses.


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