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You can’t necessarily prevent emergencies, but you can prepare and minimize their impact. A home emergency plan is one way to do that. September is National Preparedness Month, so this is a great time to either put a plan in place or to devote some time to reviewing and updating the one you have.
No one wants to think about the potential for a serious emergency. Still, it’s vital to help protect the safety of your household by equipping everyone with the tools they need to handle an emergency situation. Here are five key components for a comprehensive home emergency plan, which can be discussed with the entire family so everyone is prepared in case of an emergency.
Family Communication Plan
In the event of an emergency, members of your family could be separated. In these situations, it’s important to have a reliable out-of-town contact willing to act as a point person. Each member of your family should have the address and phone number of a family friend or relative. Ideally, this will be one who lives far enough away that they’re unlikely to be affected by the same crisis. This person can help to coordinate between each family member, so that everyone can be located and reunited as quickly as possible.
Natural Disaster Plan
Weather emergencies and natural disasters are often sudden, with little to no warning. Prepare natural disaster plans that focus on the most likely type of emergencies your area might experience. For Florida homeowners, this means being prepared for extreme weather conditions such as hurricanes, storms, and high winds. Each member of your household should know how to take cover, and the areas in the home you consider the safest spots for weathering a storm.
Children and adults should be practiced and confident about escape routes from the home in the event of a fire or other emergency. Ideally, there should be two potential routes to get out of every room in your home. In addition to an evacuation plan for your home, you should also have a plan for evacuating from your neighborhood.
When disaster strikes, roads may be closed or impassable; for this reason, consider more than one route to leave the area. In case of an evacuation, have two set meeting points for separated family members: one specific location on or near your property (in case of a fire or other sudden emergency), and one outside the neighborhood where family members can meet if returning home is impossible.
Pet and Animal Care Plan
Have a plan in place for how pets can be boarded or kept safe in the aftermath of a disaster. They may not be allowed entry to shelters, and leaving them behind could endanger them and rescue workers, using precious resources. Check their collars and tags to see if their information is up to date. You may also wish to consider microchipping your pets in case they run away during an emergency situation.
Home and Utility Protection Plan
Be aware of recommended safety measures in case of an emergency situation. If there is standing water, no-one should touch breakers or light switches. Staying behind in order to cut off water sources or power down electronics may not be the safest choice during an emerging situation. However, when following an early evacuation order, consider turning off the power and closing the shut off valves under the sinks in the kitchen and bathroom before leaving the house.
Remember Your Emergency Plan
The most meticulous emergency plan is useless if no one remembers what it contains. Disaster and emergency situations can be overwhelming, so it’s wise to frequently review, practice and even drill for the emergencies covered in your plan. Quiz children on out-of-town contacts, meeting places in case of separation, and how to get out of the house in the event of a disaster. When everyone is armed with the knowledge they need to make safe decisions, you can approach even the most harrowing situations with some peace of mind.
Once everyone is safe and accounted for, contact your insurance company to make them aware of your situation. If there is damage to your home, this can provide an early alert to your insurance company.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not form a part of, replace, change or amend any terms, conditions, provisions or language within your Olympus Insurance policy. We encourage you to read your entire policy.