Does everyone in your family know what to do in the event of an emergency? Whether there’s a house fire or a home invasion, having a plan in place will empower each member of your family. A well thought out plan will save you valuable time that is often wasted by not knowing exactly what to do. It will also give you peace of mind to know that there’s a dedicated meeting place. That way you can account for any missing household members.
You don’t need to believe in a zombie apocalypse to get started on disaster planning. The Red Cross reports that more than 50% of Americans have endured a three day long power outage, medical emergency, or mandatory evacuation. Only 12% of these people have actually planned for a disaster.
Here’s a couple of statistics that are sure to send shivers down your spine:
Each year, more than 500,000 homes burn down. More than 3,400 people die in these fires each year. Many of these deaths can be prevented by enacting an escape place from every room of the house.
Approximately 2,000,000 homes are burglarized each year. One in five homes experience a violent burglary.
Having a plan on how to respond to each type of the major disasters will undoubtedly benefit your household.
Here’s how to create a family safety plan:
1. Map It Out
Draw a map of your home. It doesn’t need to be to scale, but it should be understandable and recognizable to each member of your household. In the map, be sure to include at least two exits for each room.
2. Map Out Your Meeting Place
In addition to your home map, draw up a route to your meeting place. In the event that your family needs to escape from your home, you need to designate a central location to meet.
In some cases, it’s a good idea to have two meeting places in opposite locations, in case the first meeting ara is compromised.
Your map should be located near your disaster survival kit (more on that later). Be sure to review your emergency plan with the members of your household annually.
3. Make Sure Everyone Has a Cellphone
These days, phones are easily obtained, and don’t require a lengthy contract. Ensuring that all members of the household are accessible by phone will increase communication during those awful moments of uncertainty.
4. Use I.C.E.
I.C.E. stands for In Case of Emergency. In your phone, be sure to add one entry labeled ICE in your phone. That way, if an accident occurs and paramedics
5. Designate An Emergency Contact
After an emergency, you may not be able to reach other members of your family, especially if it’s a localized emergency event. In this case, designate an out of state relative or family member to call and check in.
6. Teach Young Children Vital Details
Children as young as five can memorize mom or dad’s telephone number or home address. It is important that your kids also know your first and last name. Many kids only know their parents as “mom” or “dad,” and not Karen or Bob.
Also, children need to understand how to call 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency.
If you have a home security system, this is a great time to teach them the system PIN code, and how to reach the monitoring line in the event of an emergency.
Teach children the importance of using emergency procedures responsibly.
7. Create An Emergency 72-Hour Kit
Whether you create one kit for your entire household, and personalize a kit for each family member, it’s a good idea to be prepared. Important things to include in your emergency survival kit:
First Aid Kit
The list goes on, but this is a good place to start.
8. Do Drills
It’s not enough to just know it in your heads, you also have to do drills. This is especially important for younger children who learn best through practice. Commit to doing an exit drill at least once a year. Make sure everyone in the household knows what to do in the event of a fire, a home invasion, or a natural disaster.
9. Register for CPR Classes
At least one person in the household should know how to perform CPR. Many community centers offer CPR classes, and there’s no age minimum to who can learn the techniques. The only factor is whether a person has the strength necessary to perform the procedure. Kids as young as nine can learn how to perform CPR effectively.