Homeowners: Do You Have an Emergency Plan?
Property hazards abound in the home, but many homeowners forget another important aspect of keeping the home and family safe: an emergency plan.
Disasters, and smaller emergencies within the home, can strike at any time and without warning. Smart homeowners have plans in place, and educate family members about what to do when an emergency happens.
PLANNING FOR HOME EMERGENCIES
1. Create a plan. What would you and your family do if the house caught fire or in the event of a major earthquake (or similar natural disaster)? Your written home emergency plan should include:
— A map with escape routes from the home.
— An identified “meeting place” located near, but a safe distance from, the home where family members will meet if the emergency requires vacating the residence.
— A list of emergency contacts (friends and neighbors) family members should try to reach if an emergency happens.
— A “universal contact” family members will use to “check in” and confirm everyone is OK if the emergency happens when one or more family members is away from the house.
— Have different plans for different kinds of emergencies: a fire will not require the same response, or preparedness, as an earthquake or other natural disasters.
— Anticipate what your family will need to survive both the emergency and its aftermath — and include those items and actions in your plan.
Go over the plan with family members. Make sure everyone knows where to go and what to do in the case of different kinds of emergencies.
2. Prepare and Store Emergency Supplies.
— In the aftermath of an emergency food, water, and medical supplies may be difficult or impossible to locate outside the home. Make sure you have sufficient supplies on hand, and in a safe location where family members can find them in case of need.
— You will need, on average, one gallon of clean drinking water per family member per day for hydration and sanitation. The number of days you need to prepare for may vary, so store an amount appropriate for your family’s emergency needs.
— Store clean, nonperishable food (and rotate your store so items don’t expire).
— Always keep a stocked first-aid kit on hand and accessible in case of emergencies. Smart homeowners may even have more than one. When you use items from the first aid kit to treat injuries, remember to replace them!
— If family members take medications regularly (or periodically, as in the case of asthma inhalers) make sure to keep a reasonable supply on hand in case of emergencies. Asthmatics, in particular, should always have a spare inhaler.
These tips cannot prevent a disaster, but being prepared and having a plan increases your — and your family’s — chances of surviving an emergency or disaster. Preparedness can also help prevent additional injuries and harm after the immediate danger passes.
Investigate the causes of emergencies and disasters in and around your home and area. Make a plan, and ensure that family members know what to do if the unexpected strikes.