You probably know about childproofing and some of the other safety basics, but what about bigger safety issues, such as fire, floods or other natural disasters that can strike without warning?
UL is here to help. Below you’ll find one easy thing to do each day for a week to help plan and prepare to keep your family safer. The end result is a safer home in seven simple steps.
Create a Fire Escape Plan
Draw a simple floor plan of your home. On it, mark two exits from every room, including windows, and an assembly point outside of your house. Write “Call 911″ on the escape plan and post it in a central location, such as the refrigerator door. Hold a fire drill with all members of your family to be sure everyone understands the plan.
Install/Check Smoke Alarms
Smoke alarms save lives. Install at least one UL-listed smoke alarm on every level of your home, including the basement and outside each sleeping area. Once you have them installed, test smoke alarms once a week and replace smoke alarm batteries twice a year. So go on, check those batteries!
Pick a Meet-Up Spot
An important part of any safety plan is a designated meet-up spot in case disaster prevents you from reaching your home. Choose a meeting place away from the home with your kids and make sure they know how to get there. Families that have discussed where they’ll meet and what to do in different situations are always better prepared when disaster strikes.
Choose an Emergency Contact
Designate an out-of-town relative or friend to be your family’s emergency contact and keep their information with you at all times. Let that relative know that they are your family’s go-to person.
Review Kids’ Information
When old enough, children should know their full name, parents’ full names, address (including city and state), home phone number (including area code) and parents’ work phone numbers or cell phones. Younger kids can work on learning their full name and phone number first and then your out-of-town contact as they are able. A fun way to teach younger children your phone number? Turn it into a song!
Prepare an Emergency Kit
Kits should include:
- Five days’ worth of non-perishable food and water
- Can opener
- Portable emergency radio (hand-crank, solar-powered or battery-operated)
- Any prescription medication needed by family members
- First aid kit
- List of phone numbers for relatives
- Neighbors and utility company phone numbers and information
- Pictures and descriptions of your family
- If you have pets, include five days’ worth of canned pet food and water, sturdy leashes, harnesses or carriers, current photos and descriptions and a litter box.
Now that you have a plan, it’s time to make sure that everyone in your family really understands how to put it into action. Review the information from the previous days. Make sure your kids are comfortable with the plan and set a date for your next family fire drill and safety review. Put it on the calendar. As time goes by, remember that kids get older, furniture moves and doors get painted. Be sure to review and adjust your plan on a regular basis.