Preparing for an Emergency at Home

It is rare that people think about the possibility of an emergency occurring within the home because it is not a concept which you would want to even consider. However, in everybody’s lives, there is always a possibility that the worst could happen at some point, in one way or another; and if this were to happen to you, you would find yourself wishing that you had been more prepared. Therefore, it is important to make sure you are ready for any situations or disasters which may arise, giving you the peace of mind of knowing you have everything you need to care of yourself and your family. Here are a few tips on putting together an emergency kit with important supplies which will keep you and your family safe in an emergency.
Situations to prepare for

Though they are often dependent on where you live, there are a lot of possibilities of home disasters which could occur, and each has different recommended protocols. Therefore, it is important to familiarize yourself with as many of them as you can. Flooding is a very frequent natural disaster, as flash floods are most commonly caused by persistent heavy rains. If there is a flood, you should make sure to keep yourself and your family out of floodwaters, especially if they rise above shoe level, as they are often full of undesirable bacteria and debris. Be prepared to evacuate as soon as possible, stay alert, and head to higher ground if you can.

Earthquakes can happen at any time, so if you are in a zone which is likely to be affected, make sure that your wall hangings and any lose decorative items are properly mounted. Keep heavy items away from areas where they are likely to fall and hurt someone, such as above beds or seating areas. Determine some safe areas within the home where you will be covered, with something to hold onto, in case an earthquake was to occur.

When a power outage occurs locally and lasts for only a few moments, it doesn’t seem too bad, especially during the day. On the other hand, if the outage lasts longer than a few hours, and goes into the night, then this is a situation you will want to prepare for. Keep your pantry stocked with water bottles, and some non-perishable food items so that you don’t need to open up your fridge. You should also keep items such as portable chargers, a flashlight, and some extra cash on hand.

A number of different things can cause a house fire, and some of these are preventable if you practice fire safety around the home. Keep working smoke alarms in communal areas of the house, including the hallways. Cook responsibly, making sure not to leave the stove unattended, and turn off any appliances which may begin to overheat and catch fire. In the case of a small fire, it may be possible to contain it, especially if you have the right types of fire extinguishers. However, if a fire has grown out of control, make sure you have pre-planned all possible escape routes, and make sure your children are aware of these too.

Creating an emergency kit

Your emergency kit is a collection of all the essential items you will need to have easily on hand, in case of an emergency. These are items which should help you for at least a few days, and you’ll want to keep them together in a way that makes them easy to gather and transport at a moment's notice.

Of course, to start with, the first things you will need are water bottles and non-perishable food items, preferably enough for each member of your family to survive on for three days. You will also want a can opener so that you can easily access food in cans. Then, you will need basic tools, such as a flashlight (plus extra batteries), your phone, and a charger. Remember that your phone could be the most important thing when it comes to getting your family help in an emergency, so you will always want access to a working one.

In case of an emergency which forces you to leave your home for a while, make sure to have extra clothing packed in your kit, along with blankets and any essential toiletry items, such as sanitary items, wet wipes, and hand sanitizer. Finally, you will need to have extra cash on hand, in case you can’t access a bank account, and also a first aid kit, in case someone in your family becomes injured.

These are just a few ideas of items you could include in your emergency kit, though there are other things you may feel would be important to include. Though this may seem like a list of very simple items, an emergency such as a natural disaster can happen very unexpectedly at any given moment, and these items will make dealing with difficult situations a little bit easier. You should also bear in mind, that once an emergency situation does occur, these are items which will become more difficult to come by, as they will be in high demand. Therefore, preparing these essentials in advance will save you time and money, and will mean you aren’t left to go without in hard times.

Have a plan of action

Try and come up with a plan of action which includes basic steps for everyone to take during a range of emergency situations. For example, this could include a safe space for people to meet at if your family is separated when an emergency occurs. It is also important that you teach your children where the necessary escape routes are within the home if they need to get out quickly, such as in the event of a fire or flash flood.

It may be that if a power outage were to occur, that you would prefer to instruct your young children to stay in one place, and signal for help so that they aren’t injured trying to get around the house in the dark. Whatever your plan, make sure that everyone is clear on the instructions: it may even be worth writing them down, and keeping copies around the house so that they are easily accessible. 

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  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, Jo-Anne. The one we really need to work on right now is our "plan of action".


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