Just as golf, yoga, baseball, and a myriad of other events need constant practice to stay at the top of your game, so does your family's emergency plan. It's not enough to have someone from Suburban Assured Survival help you develop a plan that covers every risk you fear, whether it be fire, hurricane, or zombie attack. You can complete the binder, put it away in your filing cabinet, and never look at it again while feeling like your family is prepared. But if you do that, if you aren't practicing the drills on a regular basis, it's almost like you didn't do anything at all.
Many government agencies recommend you test and practice your emergency plans once a year. That's certainly better than nothing, but how likely are you to forget something after twelve months of not thinking about it? Some situations, like needing the non-emergency phone number for your local police department to report loud neighbors, you can take the time to drag out your emergency plan or binder and look up. But what if your two year-old daughter swallows some drain cleaner - do you know the Poison Control hotline number? How many do-overs will you have if a flash flood suddenly turns the ground beneath your house to liquid mud? Will your six year-old know what to do if he wakes up to find the house on fire? What if your children find you on the floor, gasping for breath and unable to speak, let alone unlock your fancy smart-phone so they can call an emergency operator?
The plain and simple fact is the more you practice a skill properly, the more likely you are to employ it properly when that skill is needed. It usually doesn't take long to get together every three months in your living room, pull out your emergency plan, and go through all the likely scenarios with everyone in your household. Then, when your six year-old saves your life by calling 9-1-1 and giving your correct address and the symptoms you have to the operator, you don't have to worry about trying, mid-emergency, to explain to them they need to go get the plan from the locked filing cabinet in the basement and look on page four.
It doesn't hurt to act out every eventuality in your plan once a year or so to keep a general familiarization with the steps that must be taken to leave or protect your residence with little or no notice. But when something bad is coming at you, you don't want to be caught unprepared. It's your survival. Take it seriously.