One of the things I learned during recent years of major fires in our area was the importance of Family Emergency Meet-up Spots. During the major fires there were several evacuations. Some evacuations came fast and without any other warning. Someone may be at a baseball practice while Mom is at the store and the rest of the family is at home but now leaving. During these times while you hope you can easily call and find each other, it is not always plausible. And the last thing you need to be doing is looking frantically everywhere for your family. What we all need are Emergency Meet-up Locations.
That's not the only time you need an emergency meet-up location either. If there is a fire inside the house, you naturally need a place to meet up outside. If you are all out of town and something happens at home, do you know what your next step is going to be? What if you are just at a water park for the day? Its good to get in the habit of picking an Emergency Meet-up spot right when you get somewhere.
What makes a good meet up spot?
- Is it easy to recognize day or night? Don't just pick a tree among many that has some cool looking branches- in the dark they all look the same and you want everyone to be at the right one. Make your meet-up spot something unique or bigger. For example, a school in another neighborhood might be a good spot. However, if there are evacuations, chances are the schools will also be set up as emergency shelters. While that can be a good thing- kill two birds with one stone- it can also make it a lot busier and harder to find each other. If its a bigger locations like a school, be sure you have a specific spot at the school to meet up like the flag pole. That way you won't be waiting for each other opposite sides of the school.
- Is it easy to find and remember? If its just a place you are going to be for the day, its hard to remember a ton of details. Pick somewhat of the same type of place everywhere you go if you can. For instance, pick the customer service desk or first aid office. Your car while always familiar may not be the best spot. Its too easy to forget where it is parked and it is dangerous for little kids to go wandering through the parking lot alone.
- Is it generally a safe spot? Circumstances change but pick something that generally speaking is a great place to meet-up. A place that is well lit at night, not a ton of street traffic, and where your family feels comfortable. The last thing you need in an emergency is to go to some strange place. At least a school or first aid office is familiar. If its just a spot to meet up outside in case something happens to the house, make sure it is a safe distance away- not just your mailbox on the curb. Do small children have to cross the street to get there? If it is a neighbor's house, do your children know their names?
The good thing about having several meet up spots is if an emergency happens where one meet up spot is no longer an option, you automatically have a second place to go- no panicking needed. Be sure to practice meeting up at your spots at least once a year to keep them fresh in your mind (General Conference is a great time!). Worried about forgetting? Write the details down on a 3x5 card, laminate it, and keep it in your wallet.
What are your family meet-up spots?
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