Plan for a Home Emergency
Edited by VisiHow, Eng, Doug Collins
Emergency plans are meant to help you and your loved ones stay calm and safe in a variety of possible emergencies, whether natural or man-made. There are a variety of ways creating an emergency plan can be accomplished. Ready.gov recommends keeping your plan updated and practicing emergency preparation at least twice per year. Procedures should cover a number of possible scenarios and include sections such as communication, evacuation procedures, meeting places, care for pets, children, family members with special needs, and basic first aid.
You will need to know how information will reach your family in case of an emergency. In some situations, such as natural disasters, you may receive information from the news or from a local siren or alarm to warn your community to take shelter. Familiarize yourself with these signals and what they mean. Aside from how information will reach you, you need to know how you will communicate with each other as well as with other family members who may or may not also be affected by the disaster. When designing your communication plan, include alternative communication methods in case telephone lines are down. You may also want to know who will be responsible for contacting other family members, friends, employers, and others to let them know what is going on and if you are safe or need outside help. Include a list of family and emergency contact telephone numbers. This list may be especially helpful in a stressful situation or for a child who would need to make the call.
In the event you decide you need to evacuate your home in an emergency, you need a clear and developed plan to accomplish this task safely. You should have a copy of the floor plan of each floor of your home with two possible escape routes per floor. Additionally, if you need to evacuate, you should have alternative shelter or shelters. Keep in mind that you may need a different shelter for your pets, as they may not be allowed in some places. You may also need to have various methods of transportation in case one becomes unavailable. Keep your emergency evacuation plan up-to-date and practice evacuation procedures twice a year with your family.
Your family should designate a family meeting place in case you are not all together when an emergency situation occurs, especially if telephone lines would go down. You may want to practice getting to your meeting place from a variety of locations, such as work, school, your home, or a friend or family member's home.
Care for Pets, Children, and Family Members with Special Needs
In an emergency, remember that each member of your family will need care, including your pets. You may want to keep some additional pet-care items in your family's emergency kit. If you keep additional items with your emergency kit, you will not risk accidentally forgetting something important. Also, in the event that your home must be evacuated, note that some alternative shelters for your family may not accept pets. If there is an infant in your family, you will need special items to care for the baby as well. In addition, a family member may have special needs, including dietary needs, medication, or special medical equipment. You may not have spare equipment; so, it may be a good idea to keep an updated list of what you need in order to remember it in stressful situations. It is also a good idea to speak with your doctor about conditions for storing your medications.
Some items you may want to keep in your emergency kit include:
- non-perishable food and water
- battery-powered electronic devices with spare batteries
- blankets and spare clothing for each family member
- personal hygiene items
- basic first aid supplies
- pet food
- pet carriers and leashes
- medical records
- emergency contact information
Make sure that all of the items in your emergency kit, especially food and medical supplies, have not expired.
Your emergency plan and emergency kit should be tailored to meet your family's needs. Above all, it should be up-to-date, practiced, and readily available so that you can save yourself and your family members from experiencing too much stress.
Reference and Links
See other articles on emergency plans: Prepare for a Hurricane - Staying Safe in Severe Weather, Prepare Against Typhoon and Flood, Plan for an Emergency, and Create Hotel or Hospitality Industry Fire Safety and Evacuation Plan.
Categories : Home Safety
Recent edits by: Eng, VisiHow