Drawing a floor plan of your house and marking the exits can help you remember exactly what to do in the event of a fire. Practicing the plan in the dark, or even with your eyes closed, can help you get comfortable with your surroundings in case your vision is clouded by smoke when you actually have to escape. Practice touching a door with the back of your hand to know if there's fire on the other side.
Just make sure that your children practice the escape routes with a grown up and don't attempt anything dangerous, like escaping from a second-story window. You should also make sure that the adults are paired with the children during the escape plan so they aren't alone. If your doors or windows have security bars, they should have emergency release levers so they can be opened right away. Contact the county planning department to learn about your community's emergency plans for floods.
Having an out-of-state relative or friend to be your contact person in case your family is separated increases your chances of being reunited; everyone should know the name and address of this person. If you're under flood watch, you and your family should also bring your outdoor possessions, such as trash cans, grills, and lawn furniture, and tie them down securely. Put your important documents, such as medical records, your insurance cards, and your ID cards, in a waterproof bag.
Have an electrician raise the electric components of your home, such as any sockets or circuit breakers, at least 12" above the projected flood elevation of your home. Install backflow valves or plugs in your drains, toilets, and any other sewer connections to keep the flood waters out.
Figure out, for example, what preparations you should make for a tornado or hurricane and how to survive if you're caught in a disaster, and determine the best evacuation routes on your own if need be.
Remember, when push comes to shove, it's your responsibility to ensure your family is well prepared. Discuss disaster scenarios with your family and make sure everyone knows what to do in all the likely emergency scenarios. If you live near woods with the possibility of forest fires, you should clear your property of brush and high grass to create a buffer zone between your home and the fire. Practicing how to use a fire extinguisher and checking smoke detectors are great reminder exercises to do once a year. Besides the resources mentioned above, you might also want to check with your insurance company for ways to make your house safer.
It is a good idea to pick two or three emergency contacts, one who lives outside of your local area code in addition to one who lives within and also someone who can receive text messages. After Hurricane Katrina cell phones were just about useless to make calls in the affected areas, but they saved many lives and helped reunite families thanks to their text messaging capabilities that survived. Be serious about your emergency planning, but be careful not to irrationally frighten children or to become obsessed with disaster yourself. Learn how and prepare instructions to turn off all of your gas and electrical supplies in the event of an emergency.
If your workplace, school, or town hasn't developed an emergency plan, take the initiative to start planning one. Drawing a floorplan of your house and marking the exits can help you remember exactly what to do in the event of a fire.
Install backflow valves or plugs in your drains, toilets, and any other sewer connections to keep the floodwaters out.
Even with advance warning, any disaster, from a hurricane, tornado, or a nuclear accident, can catch you off guard and put you in grave danger.


Get everyone in your household together and walk around your home to find all of the possible ways to exit your home.
There are several things you should know how to do as you carry out your escape plan to minimize your likelihood of being exposed to toxic smoke. You should be prepared with escape ladders that you can place in or near windows to give yourself another escape route. Once a family member escapes the house, he should run to a meeting place that is at a safe distance from your home while not being too far away, such as your neighbor's front lawn, your mailbox, or a light post.
Your children should not be scared by the fire and should see the drill as a form of practice, not a reason to be scared. Check that you have a smoke alarm in every room and that all of your doors and windows can be opened easily. The department will tell you if you are in an area that is prone to flash floods or landslides, and it's important to know what to expect before you begin planning.
You and your family need to discuss what you will do to escape if there is a flood in your community. If you are under flood watch or warning, then your family should be prepared to gather your emergency supplies and to listen to the local radio or TV station for updates on what to do.
If you are given an evacuation order, then you should listen and get out of your home as soon as you can.
If you really want to prepare your family for a flood, then you should be prepared with several key items that will increase your chances of safety and survival. If you live in Kansas, you don't need to prepare for a hurricane, but you'd better be ready for tornadoes.
There's a good chance that all your family members won't be in the same place when disaster strikes, so it's important to have a predetermined rendezvous point. Designate a friend or relative as a contact person that you, your spouse, and your children can call if you can't meet up.
Once you've identified potential disaster scenarios, thoroughly inspect your house and try to make it as safe as possible.
Be prepared for emergencies with at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food and potable water, prescription medications, first aid supplies, and other things you might need if you have no utilities and no way to purchase supplies.
In the event your emergency site is unavailable or other things change, it's a good idea to have an alternate plan on hand. In extreme cases, people have had to rely on text messaging when phone lines and towers were decimated in the disaster.
Insurers have an interest in minimizing the risk of injury or damage to your home in the event of a disaster, so they will usually be happy to provide you with information.
Go to meetings of local officials and request assistance, and collaborate with your neighbors and coworkers to help make your whole community safer. Store important records, documents and information on a password protected flash drive (pack it in your emergency kit) or online backup system so that if you have to evacuate quickly, you will have access to everything you need. You will need to assess the unique set of potential hazards in your area and prepare for them accordingly. She enjoys editing new articles, patrolling recent changes, and interacting in the wikiHow forums.
A little planning and practice before you're in danger can help you and your family survive even the worst disasters. When you practice, you can pretend that the fire is in a different part of the house, so you can run the drill several times and know which alternate routes to take to minimize your exposure to the smoke and fire. Learn how to work the ladders for your drill so you'll be prepared to use them in the event of an emergency.


Practicing the drill with your children will help them see that fire is a tool, not a toy, and will teach them to be more respectful of fire -- and less likely to play with it. Your home should be prepared to recognize smoke and your doors and windows should be able to be easily opened if you want to be able to escape as quickly as possible. You can also find out the warning signals, evacuation routes, and locations of emergency shelters that are used in your community. If there is standing water or fallen power lines nearby, then you should turn off your gas and water to avoid electrical shock when the power comes back on. While some disasters, such as fire, can happen anywhere, the hazards you might encounter vary widely from place to place.
They may be able to provide you with evacuation maps and information about local warning systems and emergency plans.
Choose a spot that will likely be safe and that is well away from your neighborhood, as you might not be able to make it back to your home. In order to minimize the chance that the contact person will also be affected by the disaster, choose someone who lives in a distant town or in a different state. It's not enough for one person in the family to know what to do--everybody should know the plan. Fire extinguishers should be recharged according to the manufacturer's instructions, and family members should learn how to use them.
Adults and older children should know how to turn off gas, electricity and water if the house is damaged, and everyone should know how to detect a gas leak. Many insurance policies also require certain precautions in order for a loss to be covered. Her favorite article she’s worked on is How to Keep Cats Out of the House, and her favorite article on wikiHow is How to Care for a New Cat. You can also practice waking up the sleeping family members of the house, if the alarm went off at night.
You should learn how to use them from the first floor and the second story windows, if there is no other method of escape from those windows. You should also sanitize your sinks and tubs and then fill them with clean water so you have them on hand. Your family should know what to do if you have to evacuate because of a flood and should be prepared to act.
Check with your local emergency management or civil defense office, Red Cross chapter, or the National Weather Service to get an idea of what emergencies you should prepare for. If you can't get all the information you need from officials, research your local hazards on your own. Make sure that all your family members have the contact person's phone number with them at all times.
Emergency numbers should be posted near phones, and even small children should be taught how to call 9-1-1 or the corresponding emergency number in your country. You should also buy a fire extinguisher and ensure that all of your family members know how to use it.



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