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How To Create An Emergency Escape Plan
As parents we all want our kids to be safe. We teach them simple skills like looking before crossing the street and not talking to strangers. However, we’re often not prepared for disasters that are out of our control. With 3 kids ages 6 and under, you would think we have an emergency escape plan in place in that type of event. Yet for some reason up until a week ago, we didn’t.
We all hope that we don’t ever have to use an emergency escape plan. Whether it’s because we think “it will never happen to me” or that we just don’t want to think about something bad happening, we tend to put it off. However, according to NFPA reports there were over 1,319,500 fired reported in 2017 alone, more than enough reason to get a plan in place.
4 Step Emergency Escape Plan
Creating an emergency escape plan with kids in mind isn’t all that difficult. Here is what we did when creating our plan:
1.) We drew a picture of our home and all it’s rooms with windows and doors clearly marked. We then marked up the drawing with 2 ways into and out of each room so that the kids had a visual of exactly what to do. If their first option to exit is blocked they can easily see where they need to go next.
2.) We set up an emergency escape ladder so that if it ever needed to be used, it wouldn’t be their first time seeing it. We keep this in a place that is easily accessible for our daughter – but not our son. He isn’t an age where we feel it would be smart to leave it where he can get it. With little kids you have to use your best judgement when crafting an emergency escape plan – it’s not a one size fits all. Depending on their age it may not be suitable for them to use/do certain things.
3.) Create a meeting place. Your meeting place should be close enough to the house that the kids can get there on their own, but far enough away that if there is real danger, they aren’t too close to it. We chose our mailbox because it is a good distance from the house, but not far away where we would have to worry about losing sight of the them.
4.) Practice using the emergency escape plan (and ladder) so that they are completely comfortable with it. Set up a schedule (for example: 1x each season) to quickly go over the plan to keep it fresh in everyones brain. The best way to ensure everyone knows what to do in the event of an emergency is to plan, practice and repeat.
Prepare Your Home For Emergencies
Having an emergency escape plan is important but it’s also important to prepare your home to avoid emergencies in the first place. Here are 5 simple tips to help prevent a fire/emergency.
1.) If you burn candles, make sure that you blow them out when you’re done. Better yet – don’t burn them at all. According to the NFPA candles are among the top 5 causes of home fires. Not using them is the easiest way to ensure they won’t cause a fire.
2.) Don’t smoke in the home. Or same as above, don’t smoke at all. It’s horrible for you. But back to the fires… a cigarette that isn’t entirely put out could easily send a house up in flames.
3.) Have Smoke Detectors properly installed and have batteries fully charged at all times. Batteries should be checked roughly every 6 months (or you can just install First Alert 10-year sealed battery alarms so you don’t ever have to replace them). Ideally, smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home as well as in AND out of bedrooms. Carbon Monoxide detectors should be on every level and near the bedrooms as well. You can see in the image below the First Alert tabletop Carbon Monoxide detector we’ve been using – they’re great for hubbies who don’t like doing any extra work around the house lol.
4.) Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. With cooking being the number 1 cause of home fires it only makes sense to be well prepared in the event there is a problem.
5.) Try to avoid using space heaters! With electrical problems being one of the top 5 causes of home fires it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Creating an emergency escape plan doesn’t have to be difficult! With the Emergency Escape Plan Sheet you can quickly and easily begin your plan and feel comfortable knowing your family is prepared in the event of an emergency.
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