How To Make An Effective Home Emergency Plan
We rarely know when an emergency will strike but we know they can and do happen. It’s therefore important to take some time out of your busy schedule to make yourself a home emergency plan. There are many different types of disaster that could disrupt your daily life. Making a home emergency plan can help you deal with a stressful situation quickly and effectively.
You don’t have to do this alone, in fact, try to get as many of your family members as you can involved. Getting other family members to help you make a home emergency plan will make sure that everyone is on the same page if an emergency happens. Family members may also have suggestions to add to the plan that you may not have thought of on your own. It’s also a great way to introduce reluctant family members to the benefits of prepping and help them to be prepared too.
Why Make A Home Emergency Plan?
Emergencies can happen with little or no warning and can have disastrous effects. Make sure you give yourself every chance of survival by being prepared and making a home emergency plan. Your plan will include some or all the following steps but it will also be driven by your own personal circumstances and requirements.
Step One – Initial Preparation Questions
As part of making your home emergency plan, carry out a risk assessment of your home and ask yourself the following questions.
Is your home at risk from floods, fire or any other possible emergency?
If the answer is yes think about the actions you can take to reduce the potential damage to your home that such an emergency could cause. Make an action plan to carry out any work in this area. For example, if your home is at risk from flood you could consider installing flood protection for doors and low-level windows. You could also consider making sure you have ample sandbags available should a flood strike.
In an emergency could you survive without power or water for three days?
If the answer is no you should plan to store enough water to last each member of your family for three days. You should also consider obtaining an alternative backup power source such as a generator.
Does your family know what to do in an emergency?
As mentioned earlier its important that everyone in your household is prepared for an emergency. Arrange a time to sit down with one another to discuss your requirements and the actions you would need to take in an emergency.
Are your home and contents insured?
Check that your home is adequately insured for the emergencies you may face like, fire, flood, and subsidence.
Do you know how to turn off the gas, water, and electricity to your home?
In certain emergency situations turning off the gas, water and electricity are important actions to prevent damage to property and life. Make sure all members of your household know the location and procedures for turning off each of these utilities.
Can you stay in touch with the other members of your household?
The ability to communicate with the other members of your household is another important part of home emergency planning. In emergency situations, the mobile phone network can become overloaded with everyone one affected trying to call emergency services and their loved ones. You need to be ready for this scenario by having a plan in place for how you will stay in contact with your family.
Step Two – Communication Plan
- Choose two meeting points that you can go to if you cannot access your home and have been separated from the other residents of your home.
- Choose a friend or relative who lives outside of your location who you can call if lines are working to tell them you are ok.
- Keep their number in your mobile contact list and in a handwritten contact list, you carry with you so you can leave a message with them to pass on to your family members.
- Make sure you tune into your local radio station to receive updated information on the emergency.
Step Three – Accommodation Plan
You might not be able to stay in or gain entry to your home in an emergency. Make sure you and your family have an alternative place to stay.
- Talk with friends and family to arrange a safe place where you can stay.
- Local Authorities may give basic shelter for those affected by an emergency at an Emergency Evacuation Centre.
- Keep listening to local radio stations to receive updated information on evacuation center locations.
Create Your Emergency Kits
Whether you are able to stay at home during an emergency or you have to evacuate it’s important to have some basic emergency kit to help you to survive.
First of all, keep a good supply of canned and bottled water at home for when you need to stay inside. Next prepare the following emergency kits.
- Basic Home Emergency Kit
- Evacuation Grab bag kit
Home Emergency Kit checklist
- Flashlights (hand crank or with batteries)
- Radio (hand crank or with batteries)
- First aid kit
- Bottles of water
- Canned or pre-packed food
- Camping Stove
- Lighter or Matches
- Antibacterial hand gel
- Notebook and pen and pencil
- Spare batteries
- Insurance documents
Depending on your personal requirements your own home emergency kit may include other items to those listed above.
Evacuation Grab bag checklist
Create a grab and go bag (Bugout Bag) with the following basic equipment so that if you have to evacuate your home in a hurry you have the essentials you will need.
- Home and car keys
- Money and bank cards
- Mobile phone (with charger)
- Insurance documents
- Essential medicine or prescription details
- Bottled water
- Basic toiletries
- Emergency contact list
- Antibacterial hand gel
- Important computer files and photos stored on USB memory stick
As mentioned earlier your personal requirements may need you to have more items to those listed above in your grab and go bag. The important thing is to take the time to think about what you would need in your own kit.
First Steps To Take In An Emergency
If you find yourself in an emergency, unless the local authorities or emergency services tell you otherwise there are few key things you should always do. In most cases you should follow these guidelines:
- Check for injuries.
- If people are injured or in immediate danger, contact the emergency services.
- Follow the advice of the emergency services.
- If the danger is inside, get out.
- If the danger is outside, get in.
- Remain calm and reassure others.
- Stay informed by listening to local radio, watching local television stations and keep an eye on social media.
- You should always make sure you and your household are safe first.
- However, helping friends and neighbors who could potentially be vulnerable is also important and can save lives.
If The Danger Is Outside: Go In + Stay In + Tune In
If The Danger Is Inside: Get Out + Stay Out
Do Not Go Back Into The Building
Contact The Emergency Services And Give Them All The Details