Earthquakes. Tornadoes. Fire. Flood. These are just a few of the calamities that might occur in our lives. Are you prepared?

Take some of the stress away by planning ahead of time. One thing families should design is a meeting place. It's terrifying to be unsure where your family members are in a time like this, and having a plan in is the best way to eliminate that worry.

You'll need more than one meeting place, because different types of emergencies create different needs.

Inside Your Home

Some emergencies suggest "shelter in place". That means to stay where you are. For example, in case of a severe storm, the family should plan to meet in a basement, crawl space, or interior room, preferably without windows. Use logic. If there is a flood or fire, don't get stuck in the basement.

Near Your Home

Another meeting place should be designated near, but not in or next to your home, such as the mailbox or a neighbor's house. This would be used in the case of a fire or a similar problem.

Neighborhood

Next, choose a meeting place that is near, but not right around your house, like a school or church. You'd use this in case the area by your house is no longer accessible due to a damaged road after an earthquake or downed trees preventing access.

Distance Meeting Place

Finally, pick a place to meet that's even farther away, perhaps even outside your hometown. Severe situations, such as war, could cause this to be important. One example would be a family member's home that is situated in a centralized location.

Another great idea is to establish a message spot

This would be a place where family members could leave a note for others, giving their location in a time of emergency. This information will be critical—and an enormous relief—in instances of downed communications. Examples include under a designated rock in your yard or inside a special container in the storage shed.

Make sure little children understand about the family meeting places. Practicing this is a great idea.

Choose your designated places soon. After all, it should take only a few minutes to settle on the various meeting spots, and can make a huge difference in case of an emergency.

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