Home & Family Safety Preparedness
During a disaster, ordinary objects in your home can cause injury or damage. However, there are simple steps you can take to make your home safer. Start by viewing each room with a "disaster eye" and identify potential hazards:
- Install smoke detectors on each level of your home and change batteries every 6 months, remember Change Your Clock, Change Your battery. Follow these tips to protect your family from fire.
- Test your smoke detectors monthly.
- Clear hallways and exits for easy evacuation.
- Store heavy items on the lowest shelves.
- Keep an ABC type fire extinguishers on each level of your home and know how and when to use them.
- Store flammable or highly reactive chemicals (such as bleach, ammonia, paint thinners) securely and separate from each other.
- Know how and when to switch off your utilities.
- If equipped, ensure that all window safety bars have emergency releases.
- Be sure your house/home number is visible from the street so emergency vehicles can find you.
Talk with your family about potential disasters and why it's necessary to prepare for them. Involve each member of your family in the planning process. By showing them simple steps that can increase their safety, you can help reduce their anxiety about emergencies:
- Make sure everyone knows where to find your disaster supply kit.
- Have a flashlight and a pair of shoes under everyone's bed in case there is an emergency during the night.
- Plan where to meet after an emergency and/or disaster if your home becomes unsafe. Choose 2 places, one just outside your home and one outside your neighborhood in case you are told to evacuate. Be sure your gas tank is always at least half full.
- Determine the best escape routes from your home. Try to identify two escape routes.
- Make sure each member knows who your family's out-of-area contact is and instruct them to call this person and tell him/her where they are.
- Locate the gas meter and other utilities and make sure family members know when and how to turn them off, when safe to do so and if necessary.
- Practice your evacuation routes, drop, cover and hold and stop, drop and roll drills.
- Teach each member of your family how to use a fire extinguisher.
- Create emergency response cards for each of your family members.
- Take into account the special needs of children, seniors or people with disabilities, family members that don't speak English and your pets.