Every home is different, and every home is susceptible to fire, burglary, or a natural disaster. To be prepared in the case of an emergency, each household should take the time to create a home safety plan that works for the family or friends living inside. Steps to create a plan are outlined below, and being prepared for the worst can help you react at your best in extreme situations.
Step One: Choose a Meeting Area and a Back-Up
For everyone in the home to know where to go in case of a natural disaster or other emergencies, choose the safest place in the house to be the meeting point. Things to consider are windows and how low space is to the ground. A basement, if you have one, would be perfect, but definitely choose somewhere downstairs with no windows like an interior bathroom or a long hallway. Just in case the meeting room is blocked or cannot be reached, choose a backup meeting location as well using the same criteria of being low to the ground and absent of windows.
Step Two: Choose Meeting Areas Outside
In case everyone is separated or cannot get to the interior meeting areas, choose two locations outside as meetup points. One of them should be the primary choice, and this location should be where everyone goes in case of a fire. Skip the interior meeting areas and go straight outdoors in the case of a fire.
Step Three: Make it Visual
Many adults and most children are visual learners. Map out paths from their room to the primary meeting location in their favorite color to denote the importance of that route. The alternate plans can be in different colors and show the other options on the map too. If there is more than one child or more than one roommate in the home, you can make separate maps for everyone with their favorite color being the primary escape option.
Step 4: Know About 911
This step is specifically for children. Teach them about dialing 911 and the importance and power of this service. Let them know that they will need to be able to recite their address and help them learn it.
Step 5: Practice Makes Habit
After creating a home safety plan together, it is important to practice the plan. Should an emergency situation ever arise, fear can kick in and cause you to stumble, but if you have practiced your plan you are likely to react on reflex and do what you are supposed to do. Practice so much that reacting to an emergency becomes a habit.
These steps are the very basics of creating a home safety plan, and each family will have different things to consider. If there is a baby in the house, discuss which spouse is responsible for getting the baby from the nursery in an evacuation. If the natural disaster is a tornado or hurricane, discuss proper techniques to cover your head and get into a crouching position to protect the body. These are some examples of specific things that will need to be part of an individual household’s safety plan. Work on mastering the basics then go through and add your household’s details.