Make a Plan

Family Disaster Plan

Homes can be repaired. Cars can be replaced. But nothing can make up for the pain, injury and even death of our loved ones. All families owe it to themselves to have an action plan with appropriate checklists to help them make it through the emergency.

Why you need a checklist 

Disasters often strike without warning. Often there is not time to think out the actions we should take, the priority of what we do, and the importance of the supplies and equipment we may need in the hours ahead. 

Create Your Emergency Plan 

  1. Meet as a family and find out which disasters are most common to your neighborhood. Seminole County's threats include, but are not limited to: wildfires, river and lake shore flooding, strong winds, thunderstorms, sinkholes, lightning, hazardous material releases, mass casualty incidents, and hurricanes.
  2. Gather information on how to prepare for each type of disaster.
  3. Learn how to get warned, such as from radio and television stations, the cable community access channel and eletronic text/voice notifications.
  4. Find evacuation routes.
  5. Locate public shelters and special needs shelters if you have family members that qualify.
  6. Learn about the emergency plans for your children’s schools.
  7. If you have a pet, identify hotels that accept pets or the nearest pet-friendly shelter.
  8. Discuss what to do for power outages and personal injuries.
  9. Assure that each family member, even the youngest, knows two escape routes from the home.
  10. Learn how to turn off all the utilities, such as power, water, and gas.
  11. Post important and emergency telephone numbers.
  12. Make a copy all medical information, prescriptions, etc.
  13. Review insurance documents and take photos of your home inside and out.
  14. Have two designated emergency contacts, one local and one distant, perhaps even out of state. 
  15. Have two meeting places, one near the home in case of fire and one outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return after the disaster.
  16. Start by checking your home for hazards. All flammables and chemicals cause a fire or health hazard.

Shelter in Place

Shelter-in-place means selecting a small, interior room, with no or few windows, and taking refuge there. It does not mean sealing off your entire home or office building. If you are told to shelter-in-place, follow these instructions:

  1. Close and lock all windows and exterior doors.
  2. If you are told there is danger of explosion, close the window shades, blinds, or curtains.
  3. Turn off all heating and air conditioning systems.
  4. Close the fireplace damper.
  5. Get your family disaster kit and make sure the radio is working.
  6. Go to an interior room without windows that's above ground level. 
  7. Bring your pets with you, and be sure to bring additional food and water supplies for them.
  8. Have a hard-wired telephone in the room you select. Call your emergency contact and have the phone available if you need to report a life-threatening condition. Cellular telephone equipment may be overwhelmed or damaged during an emergency.
  9. Keep listening to your radio or television until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate.

Evacuating Your Home 

  • Always evacuate your home when ordered to do so by the proper authorities.
  • The Office of Emergency Management coordinates evacuation and sheltering issues for the County when a State of Emergency has been declared. 

When evacuating:

  • Listen to a battery operated radio for the location of open public shelters and evacuation routes.
  • Wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes.
  • Take your disaster supply kit.
  • Take along your "Tool Kit."
  • Lock your home.
  • Use travel routes which have been specified by local officials.
  • Shut off all utilities: water, gas and electric.
  • Make arrangements for your pets or livestock.

When You Return 

If the area in which you reside has been declared closed by Seminole County Office of Emergency Management, it will most likely be because it is unsafe. Perhaps electrical wires are down, gas lines leaking or dangerous debris are present. Don’t attempt to re-enter your home until the neighborhood is opened. 

When re-entering your home, remember it may not be as you left it:

  • If your home has been damaged, check with the local life-safety or building department authorities to determine if an inspection is needed.
  • If you use natural or propane gas it is best to assume that a leak may be present until you verify otherwise.
  • Rodents, snakes or stray dogs, may have sought shelter in your home. 
  • Even with the best efforts of law enforcement, it is possible that vandals or looters entered your home. Remain aware of people in the neighborhood who you do not know.
  • Inspect the yard and area immediately outside of your home for dangerous debris or loose hanging objects.
  • Inspect each room slowly observing for threatening items, such as tossed or hanging objects.