Nothing is more important than family, and nothing can put us into panic quicker than not knowing the welfare of our family members.
What if a fire breaks out in the middle of the night; or a tornado, earthquake, or flood strikes? You will awaken to chaos with survival mode in high gear. Where are the kids, did they get out? Are they safe?
That is the wrong time to be thinking of an emergency plan. A well-thought out home emergency plan that is practiced may be the difference in surviving such a nightmare.
Take a look at your home. Is your master bedroom on one side of the house and the kids’ bedrooms on the other?
Most newer homes are designed like this to give privacy to the parents, but may cut you off from your children during an emergency.
Let’s take a look what you can do to improve your family’s safety in the home.
Designing a home emergency plan does not need to be rocket science and should not be complex. Use the following ideas to prepare and establish a home emergency plan:
Prepare Your Home for Emergencies
Smoke detectors on every level of the house, including the kitchen and all bedrooms. My thought is that you can’t have too many smoke detectors. One 9-volt battery a year per unit is not too much to ask.
Have at least two fire extinguishers in the house. Most people keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, which is always a good idea. What happens if a fire starts in the kitchen and you cannot get to that fire extinguisher? Always have another fire extinguisher in the living room coat closet or garage that can be accessed quickly.
Have emergency supplies. You should have emergency kits that can be picked up and are ready to grab and go. Emergency food and water are a must. Operating flashlights, spare batteries, water, and a radio available. It never fails that every time I go to use a flashlight, the batteries are near dead. Spare batteries are a must. There are many flashlights and radios that don’t require batteries. I personally have an emergency radio with a lever to wind up to charge it. It holds a charge for quite awhile and also has a flashlight built in.Very handy.
While on the subject of a radio, a weather radio is also very handy to have around. The National Weather Service broadcasts weather warnings specific to your area over these radios as soon as they are issued. The radio sits quiet until a severe weather warning is issued, then the radio puts out an alarm followed by the information. The information is a little more generalized than the information you get from your local radio station but it comes much quicker.
Keep important papers in a place where they can be grabbed quickly to take with you if you have to evacuate. Insurance papers, birth certificates, and other important items, it also would not hurt to keep a little cash there too.
What if a disaster strikes during the day when your family is all separated? Parents at work, kids in school or daycare, roads and bridges may be impassable and most communications may be down. See my article on the Family Communications Plan for help.
Make An Evacuation Plan And A Shelter In Place Plan
Some emergencies will require your family to evacuate the house while for other emergencies it is safer to remain in the home and shelter in place.
Check windows in all bedrooms to ensure every member of the family can easily open them. In an emergency, this may be their only way out.
Are bedrooms on a second level? Installing roll-up evacuation ladders in every upstairs bedroom will provide a safe escape. This should be safely practiced before children ever have to use them in a real situation.
Establish a meeting place outside the home, such as the driveway or across the street at the neighbor’s house.
If the emergency is outside the home and it is safer to stay inside and shelter in place, have a designated meeting place inside the home.
To sit down and accomplish a home emergency plan should take no more than a couple of hours at most. You probably already have many items. Making an evacuation plan and shelter in place plan takes just a few minutes. The critical part is communicating it to your family and even practicing it now and then.
I tried to keep this a little short and sweet so as not to overwhelm anyone, but there are always specific additions that you may want to make that are particular to your family.
A Home Emergency Plan should always be the foundation of your Emergency Preparedness program.
When you are ready to start putting together a supply of things to have ready, see my article on A Quick and Easy Emergency Preparedness List.
Within this site I have provided some emergency preparedness articles and set up some places to find emergency preparedness products. Click on any area to find a vast assortment of items, many with free shipping.