If no one knows how to get out, create a home emergency exit plan this Saturday or Sunday.
- Draw a floor plan of your residence. Mark two escape routes from each room, in case of flooding or fire. If your home has more than one story, make sure there is a way to safely exit the upper floors.
- Place a copy of each plan in each room in an obvious location – like on a door (just like hotels do!).
- Practice your escape plan every month using two exits. Make sure windows and doors aren’t stuck (winter freeze?) and that screens can be removed.
- Practice at night to see how long family members take to wake up. You should also practice blindfolded. Why? This mimics the darkness of smoke. Smoke makes it very difficult to see anything as you try to get out.
- Designate a place for everyone to meet outside. Make sure everyone knows the address and phone number of this place (so you can call if the emergency happens and you’re not there). Consider a neighbor’s house or nearby gas station.
Also, get your kids involved with this; they’ll need to know how to get out as well. Here are some good tips:
- Have your kids choose the place where to meet in case you need to leave the house immediately. Make a deal with your kids that they will stay in that spot until they are told by firefighters or police that it is OK to move. Make sure this meeting place is away from the road and driveway – first responder vehicles will drive on these.
- You’ve done the family escape plan – have the kids color in escape routes (remember they have to have two exits to color in).
- Have your kids choose where they’d like to place the escape plan in their room (you need to make it easily accessible) as well as other rooms in the house.
Also, you may not be home when an emergency or fire strikes – so ….
- Know the emergency response plan adn phone numbers for your workplace, your children’s school or day-care center, as well as other places where your family spends time.
- Also, meet with neighbors either informally or through a neighborhood group to create a neighborhood preparedness plan. Learn what neighbors or relatives may require extra assistance.
OK, that should fill a couple of hours this weekend. Have a safe and happy new year!