How To Create An Emergency Plan for Your Family

Thanks to feeling a little under the weather, I spent last night hopped up on NyQuil. Sometimes I wonder what the F they put in that stuff. I always end up having dreams that are equivalent to tripping on acid. Not that I would know. Usually my dreams are full of fluffy purple unicorns dancing in Times Square or some sort of weird shit like that. Not this time. This time – it was F-ING AWFUL.

I literally had a dream I was pulling into a parking garage in the city with a girlfriend when all of a sudden buildings started blowing up around us. Like Die Hard type style buildings exploding. LIKE WHAT. THE. FUCK. The next thing I remember I was running for the Brooklyn Bridge because I knew Maximo was back in Queens and I needed to get to him. Nothing else mattered. Except the police weren’t letting us cross the bridge because of the mayhem. Then I saw the one cop was my old bartending manager Archie. Swear to GOD. He let me slip past. The rest of the dream was a vibrant, realistic walk in slow motion through Brooklyn into Queens on a quest to save my baby in a crumbling city. Thankfully the dream ended with me arriving at home to find Maximo safe, playing with his toys totally oblivious to the carnage going on outside.


Needless to say, I didn’t go back to sleep after that. I actually went and picked up Maximo from a dead sleep in his crib and snuggled him the rest of the night. I even woke up in the am freaked out to ever leave my apartment, or Maximo again.

I think it goes without saying that another terrorist attack is a huge elephant in the room for most New Yorkers. We know it can happen, we usually think about it everyday, but we don’t talk about it, or try to worry about it because, well, we would go crazy living in fear. But show me one New Yorker that doesn’t panic just a little when traffic comes to a halt in the middle of the Lincoln Tunnel – it’s like the LAST place on earth you want to be.

Or – maybe it’s the fact that two building literally CRUMBLED in Harlem this week. That’s some fucking scary ass shit.

So seriously, the dream (and the buildings exploding in Harlem) got me to thinking – we really don’t have an emergency plan. I hate to say it – but let’s be realistic for a moment. What IF something happens. What IF I am in the city and Maximo is in Queens and cell phones don’t work anymore. How will I find him? How will we all find each other? So I complied a small EMERGENCY PLANNING LIST that I thought I would share.

How to Create An Emergency Plan For Your Family

1. Have a Plan.

Because yes, in this world, awful things happen. Terrorist exist. Buildings crumble. Planes disappear. Have a meeting place, even if it’s your apartment. That way if you have no ways of communication, you have a location to go to find each other.

2. Have A Stash.

I got to thinking, what if we had to leave in a hurry? Do I have anything ready? I have a baby and I should have an emergency bag packed. So now we have a separate bag full of some diapers, granola bars, water bottles and cash. Just in case.

I also have our passports compiled together in a safe with the money, you know – just in case we have to bolt. It’s not thousands so don’t try to come to rob me now, it’s just some money in case we need food or gas or water and credit cards no longer work. Hey it can happen! Remember how Hurricane Sandy surprised us all? It could’ve been a lot worse! But we had water stashed just in case, and some money in case we needed some emergency food. AND CANDLES! GET SOME CANDLES!!!

3. Clothes.

Just because I have a baby – I have in the bag a couple of pieces of clothes so that Maximo will be okay. Do you watch the Walking Dead? Trust me, I’d rather have a pair of socks for Maximo than have to forge millions of zombies in NYC for a pair. Just saying. I’m not packing my MAC makeup bag people, I’m packing the waterproof sneakers or boots that will let me tramp around destroyed streets.

4. Medications.

This ALWAYS seems to be the problem in movies and tv shows – someone needs medication, or formula or – well, ever wonder why there aren’t any babies in the zombie apocalypse? Because no one can keep them quiet! Yeah it’s morbid but true! Make sure you have some Tylenol ready to go – and a pacifier. Maybe a toy. NO ONE WANTS A FUSSY BABY AROUND. It attracts danger. Maximo doesn’t need any prescriptions – but if you or your family does, make sure you have a stash of insulin or asthma nebulizer in the bag.

5. Living Necessities.

What if Hurricane Sandy happens again and you’re without electricity, food and water for a few days? I know our apartments are little but GET SOME CANDLES. Don’t forget the lighter either! Have your pantry stocked with food and water that doesn’t require cooking. And make it protein that will fill you up – not empty carbs. I’m not saying it’s fun to live on canned beans or tuna, but, when you’re oven and fridge aren’t working for a few days, you’ll be happy for the preserved protein. Don’t forget the water people. A couple of gallons if you can store it – don’t forget – toilets and showers shut off too.

6. Protection.

I grew up around guns. We were farmers and hunters. I am not telling you to go out and buy guns and keep then in your house with children, but make sure you have something around that can act in regards to protection. Listen – it’s scary I get it, but we need to have some sort of plan in case shit goes really bad. Do you have a baseball bat? A knife? A taser? Don’t be in denial. If you think all the other 5 million people in NYC aren’t going to be out there trying protecting themselves as well, or trying to take WHAT you have, if THEY need it… well. I wish you much luck.

So have I throughly freaked you out yet? I am not a doomsday prepper by ANY means – but it can’t hurt to just have a plan. We have babies now and we as parents should be one step ahead – just in case. It’s always better to be safer than sorry. I mean, take a look around you – most of the world LIVES in a war zone everyday. They live in constant fear everyday. We take for granted the freedoms and peace of mind we get to experience, so will it kill you to just have a plan to protect your family?

Do you have any recommendations? Do you already have an emergency plan ready to go? Share below in the comments I’d love to hear!

By | 2017-11-16T07:36:40+00:00 March 15th, 2014|Motherhood|3 Comments

About the Author:

Stephanie Barnhart is an award-winning blogger, columnist, and outdoor enthusiast writer featured in the Huffington Post, New York Times and other media outlets. She is also the NYC Editor for


  1. Dharma Jensen March 16, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    A metal coffee can, cotton balls and rubbing alcohol are a good way to create heat without starting a huge fire. Blankets are also a good thing to have in a “grab” bag if you live in areas that have cold temperatures. 🙂

    • Stephanie March 16, 2014 at 10:49 pm

      That’s good to know Dharma! And yes i have an enormous stock pile of pillows and blankets. LOL i just like them – but they will def come in handy if anything happens during another Polar Vortex! I’m saving the next coffee can!

  2. Jory Zand Lieber March 24, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    This is one of those things I know I should have. I totally created a “hurricane shelter” in my closet in preparation for Sandy but I’ve yet to keep a “go bag” ready for the things we don’t know will happen. Like crumbling buildings. And I will absolutely go buy some CANDLES. Thank you for the reminders.

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