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Family Emergency Escape Plan: How to Prepare Your Children for Disaster

When your home is threatened by invasion, flooding, fire or any other type of threat, it is a parent’s worst nightmare. While most of us imagine it could never happen to us, it sometimes does, and it is important for your children to know the escape plan in order to get out as soon as possible.

Children and adults alike learn best through practice, so it makes sense to create the exit strategy together and then performing regular drills to practice your escape. By understanding the drill, everyone will be confident in the unfortunate event that it becomes necessary to escape from the home.

Preparing Your Children For an Escape

1. Look at escape routes from a child’s perspective

A good way to see how your child thinks, is to take him from room to room, asking him to identify ways in which he would escape. At the same time, point out all of the safety gear, such as fire extinguishers, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in each room.

2. Find a safe place to wait

Together, decide on a designated neighbour to whom your children may run in case of an emergency. In the event that your neighbors are also in danger, also designate a place near the home which your children can easily get to and where they can safely wait until help arrives. Be sure to share that information with a neighbour so that they can immediately call for help.

3. Teach your child to get out and stay out

Make sure that you teach your child that once he has escaped from the home, not to return until you have given the all-clear. Kids are notoriously fearless and your child may want to return to save you once he has called for help. However, this is dangerous in just about any situation.

  • Flood damage can cause electrocution if you have not managed to turn off the electricity.
  • Fire and gas fumes can turn deadly, too, and it may even cause the home structure to collapse, hurting or killing your child.
  • In the event of a home invasion, adults are usually the first victims, and kids are used as pawns to make you comply with their plans. Teach your children to escape and get help to ensure their safety.

How to Make Your Home Safe

Of course, prevention is better than cure and there are many ways in which you can minimize potential risks. Let’s take a look at some of the top methods:

1. Preventing Fires

  • Install smoke alarms and fire extinguishers throughout the home.
  • Avoid using oil heaters, candles or any other open flame near flammable goods such as furniture, curtains and carpets.
  • Pay attention to the condition of electrical wires and components with regular inspection.
  • Don’t store flammable liquids in the home.

2. Preventing Flooding

  • Divert gutters and downspouts away from your home.
  • Install a sump pump.
  • Install a backflow valve.
  • Teach your children about water safety from a young age.

3. Preventing Home Intrusion

  • Install bars on your windows and doors.
  • Install deadbolt locks on all external doors.
  • Ensure that your doors are reinforced to prevent forced entry.
  • Use keyless locks, especially if you have children, as this will prevent keys from landing up in the wrong hands.
  • Never leave garden tools and ladders lying around the yard.
  • Install an alarm on your external doors.

An escape plan can help the family learn about the various dangers around the home and how to prevent and or escape from them unharmed.

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