If your family has an emergency plan, it’s important to update that now that you and your spouse are living separately and sharing custody of the kids. While you may not enjoy the thought of having to work out one more thing with your soon-to-be-ex, remember that you’re doing this primarily for your children’s benefit.
You want to be sure that they’re as safe as possible when extreme weather, fire or public safety emergency occurs. You also want to ensure that you can contact each other, regardless of who has the kids at the moment and help everyone feel some reassurance.
Be prepared in both homes
If you’re sharing custody, be sure the kids (and pets) have go-bags and other emergency supplies (like medications) in both homes. Both parents should also be signed up to receive emergency alerts from fire, police and other local authorities.
Each parent should have a contact list in a visible location with the other parent’s information (in case a first responder has to contact them) as well as contact info for the school, pediatrician, daycare facility and other family members.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also recommends having a predesignated contact outside the area. Depending on the type of emergency, it may be easier to get ahold of someone in another city or state than someone local.
Make sure the right people can contact both of you
Kids spend a big part of their day at school or daycare. Be sure they have contact information for both of you. If they spend time with other family members, like grandparents, they need it as well.
Have a planned reunification point
It’s a good idea to choose a local spot (assuming you live in the same area) where you can plan to meet if you must evacuate and can’t get in touch with each other. Choose someplace like a relative’s home or hotel outside the area as well.
If you’ve always been the one who refreshes the emergency supplies and signs up for the alerts, you may need to at least offer to help your co-parent. Remember that you’re doing this for your kids.
You may find it’s best to create a family emergency plan while you and your co-parent are working on your parenting plan. That way, it’s in place and there’s less chance for conflict or confusion.