Nobody wants to focus on the “what ifs” of life, but the fact is that disasters are a reality. When we first bought our home, we talked with both of our sons about emergency procedures.
Instead of burying your head in the sand and pretending that nothing bad will ever happen to you, prepare your home for an emergency happens, and your family also.
Being caught off guard, is no fun, it can also cause more problems in the long run as well.
Prepare Your Home for an Emergency in 4 Steps
You may never want to ever use these procedures, but having them in place is smarter than finding yourself in an emergency situation without a plan.
Earthquake-Proof Your Home
Earthquakes are a reality for many Americans. While some homes, like SteelMaster buildings, are built to withstand an earthquake and other natural disasters, not all of us are lucky enough to live in that type of solid structure. Even if your home isn’t made from a SteelMaster frame, you can still take precautions to strengthen it against an earthquake. Some small, common-sense changes can transform your home from dangerous to secure in no time at all.
Make sure that heavy things are anchored securely to the wall. This means everything from china cabinets to hot water tanks, though the braces differ slightly based on what they will be used for.
You might love displaying your grandmother’s teacups on the highest shelf, but in case The Big One hits they will likely be a shattered mess. Rearrange breakable items so that they are lower to the ground and less of a hazard for falling over.
For gas appliances, install flexible connections. These are handy because they will move but will not break, protecting your home from gas leaks.
Pack an Emergency Kit
Remember in elementary school when your teachers required every student to provide an emergency kit? The same principle should be applied to your home. Pack a kit large enough for every member of your family, including the furry members. Remember to have enough items for each person:
- Food and water for at least three days.
- A change of clothes and shoes, as well as a set of heavy winter clothes in case the power goes out.
- Flashlights, lanterns and extra batteries.
- A first-aid kit stocked with necessities.
It is your right to defend your home against burglars or other unsavory characters, but have a plan of action first. Talk to your family and create a safety plan together in case of an intruder.
If someone breaks in, tell your kids what to do and instruct them where they should hide. It’s a scary topic, but be realistic with them. They need to know how to protect themselves until you can get there to protect them.
Have any firearms safely locked away from little hands. If you foresee yourself needing to get a gun ready in a hurry, have a plan of action. Practice your plan with an unloaded gun so that you will not be panicked in the moment.
Keep Phone Numbers Safe
Prepare an emergency contact list of people who are allowed to collect your children from school or pick them up at your home after an emergency. (Grandparents, uncles and aunts, etc). Reinforce to your kids that unless someone is on this list, they may not open the front door or get in the car with them.
Phone numbers should be kept somewhere in each room or at a minimum in fire-safe boxes. I also suggest having a prepaid cellphone in one of the fire-safe boxes as well.
Homeowners or Renters Insurance
Do you have a policy in place in case something happens to your home that is beyond your control? If you don't, contact your car insurance company. Most will provide an additional coverage for your home and you can get discounts for multi-lines or multiple policies.
The concept to prepare your home for an emergency is frightening, but having a plan in place can help you expect the unexpected and keep your family safe. No matter how you prepare, make sure everyone in your home is on the same page that way everyone knows where everything is if anyone gets separated or is home alone when tragedy strikes.