A Good Home Emergency Evacuation Plan

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Emergency preparedness kitThe vast majority of Canadian families lack home evacuation plans. Most people think they can grab needed supplies quickly enough when disaster strikes and help their children out of the house. Others simply never think about the possibility of things going wrong. 

If you don't already have one in place, now is a great time to make a plan. It may just be the most important thing you will never need.  Below are some considerations to make sure you're prepared:

  1. Many pharmacies sell first aid kits. Even better, Red Cross Stores sell emergency preparedness kits. In addition to basic medical supplies, these should include canned food, biscuits, water, warm clothes, sleeping bags, flashlights, whistles, a radio, spare batteries, emergency numbers, medication prescriptions, copies of personal documents, money, spare keys, a knife, rope, and so forth. Consult the Red Cross if you are unsure what to take.

  2. Everyone in the house should know where to find the emergency kit, and it is important to replace perishable items regularly.

  3. Homes are small enough to be evacuated reasonably easily. Sketch three or four routes out of the house so that everyone understands how to get out if some of the routes are blocked. 

  4. Obey the government's building safety standards. For example, install burglar bars on the open side of windows only, so you can break and escape through the closed side if there is a fire in the hallway in front of your room.

  5. Use a buddy system where each family member is responsible for one other, including the pets.

  6. Identify safe space for specific emergencies, such as basements for tornados.

  7. Plan a few routes out of your neighbourhood and plan several means of transport to get your family out.

  8. Plan meeting places inside and outside your neighbourhood in case family members leave the house separately. 

  9. In case of wild fires, floods and hurricanes, leave as early as possible to avoid being trapped. 

  10. If there is time, shut off water, gas and electricity before leaving the house.

  11. Practice the evacuation plan at least once a year and encourage your family to evacuate the house in less than 90 seconds.

We never think the unthinkable will happen, but it's always a good idea to be prepared.