Although not always pleasant to think about, it’s important to be aware of the disasters that can happen in your home. Many happen unexpectedly and if you’re not prepared, this can cause devastating consequences.
Having a plan in place is important for the health and safety of your family. It can be worrisome to think of these events, but if everyone has an understanding of what to do if there’s an emergency, it can provide peace of mind. Here’s how your household can stay safe during a home disaster.
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Make A Plan & Emergency Kit
Creating a home disaster plan is the first step to creating a safer home. Clearly communicating with the rest of your household what to expect when the unexpected happens can keep everyone safe. It’s best to choose specific meeting points if a disaster occurs, two indoors and two outdoors depending on the situation. Practice these routes with your family two to three times per year, especially if you have children.
The second thing you’ll need to respond properly is a home emergency kit. This is a waterproof bag or container full of basic needs that will come in handy if disaster were to occur. Some can be purchased but it’s best to put together yourself, as you know what your family’s needs are. The Department of Homeland Security has a great list of items you should pack on their website. Some other items you may want to consider including are:
- An Extra Set of Housekeys
Know Your Risks
To best plan and prepare, understand what risks you may face in your area. Is your city prone to flooding or storms? Take these into consideration while you make a plan, as different emergencies may call for separate protocol. Here are a few home disasters to think about.
Fire Safety Tips
Regardless of location, a fire can happen anywhere. You should always start your plan for a fire with how to prevent one. According to the Red Cross, 60% of deaths due to a house fire are in homes where there are no working smoke detectors. Install on each floor of the home and test your smoke detectors regularly to ensure they are working. Additionally, find areas to reduce the use of candles or other open flames in your home. Keep blankets and fabrics away from heaters or fireplaces.
If a fire does occur, your family should know two ways to exit the home and a designated meeting place. Call 911 immediately. To get outside, stay low under the smoke and always test closed doors with the back of your hand before opening. If they are hot, do not open and use your alternate route.
Storm Safety Tips
Storms of various forms can occur throughout the country. Some cause serious damages to homes with high winds or even tornados. Regardless of the severity of the storm, always seek shelter immediately.
If there is a tornado warning, seek shelter on the lowest floor of your home, or if your home is one level, an inner room such as a closet. Use a blanket to shield you and others from flying debris. Ensure everyone in the family knows where to go if the tornado sirens in your community go off.
Flood Safety Tips
Some areas of the country are more prone to flooding than others. Be sure to check your risk to understand the chances of potential flood damage to your home. If you live in a high risk area, you may want to consider flood insurance. Always have an emergency kit ready.
In some cases, you may need an evacuation plan to completely leave the home if there is ample warning time. Ensure your family has a meeting place on higher ground if there is a flash flood warning in your area. Never drive or walk through a flooded area. If there is standing water, know how to turn off the power to your home and understand what post-flood clean up may look like for your home.
Talking With Children About Family Safety
As stated above, talking about the potential of a home disaster can be hard and worrisome, especially for children. Some may not understand or be scared by the idea of these situations. However, it’s important for children to recognize a crisis and the proper safety procedures if they occur. Be sure to speak calmly and put to rest any fears.
After you’ve explained how to recognize a crisis, go through the home emergency plan to educate your child on what he or she should do. It might be helpful to draw a map of the meeting points and escape routes so they have a visual. Make sure the meeting points in and around your home are clear for a child to understand and easy to find, such as the big tree in the backyard. Practice these routes with them so they know and are comfortable reaching that area. If they know their numbers, teach them when and how they should call 911 if they are ever in an emergency.
While no homeowner likes talking about home disasters, creating a plan and communicating clearly to the household what they can do if a crisis occurs can provide peace of mind and safety for all. Plan a family meeting to discuss how you can prepare and properly respond to an emergency.
Do you have any home safety tips for your household? Share with us in the comments below!