Following are some items you may want to discuss and include in your plan.
Escape Route. Discuss various escape routes from each room in your home. Make sure children understand at least two ways to get out of each room, especially their bedrooms. For example – route 1 is out the bedroom door, down the hall, out the front door; route 2 is out the window.
Meeting Place. Set a place to meet in the event of an emergency. Locations will vary based on the type of emergency. For example, in the event of a fire we will meet by the tree in the front yard. If there’s a tornado, we will meet at the bottom of the stairs in the basement. You may also want to set one place near your home (by the tree in the front yard), as well as another place farther away, if needed (at the basketball hoop outside the neighbor’s house).
Family Communications. Your family may not all be together when a disaster strikes. Discuss how you will communicate with each other if you’re apart, and how/when you will get together in one location if possible. Remind children that if they are not with you, that the trusted adult they are with will help keep them safe until you can be together.
Practice Drills. Teach all family members how to shut off utilities, including natural gas, and electricity, which may start fires following natural disasters, as well as the water. Teach everyone where the fire extinguisher is located and how to use it. Make sure everyone knows how to call 911 for help if needed.
Create a Disaster Supplies Kit. You will want to collect and store in your home enough food, water, and supplies for your entire family for at least three days. Stock the following items to be prepared: 1/ water – at least one gallon of water per person per day; 2/ food – non perishable items that don’t require refrigeration; 3/ first aid supplies including bandages, gauze, adhesive tape, and antiseptic; 4/ clothing, bedding, and sanitation supplies; 5/ tools such as a manual operated can-opener, battery powered radio and flashlight, and matches in a waterproof container; and 6/ special items such as medications, contacts/glasses, and important family documents. Keep all of these items together in a “kit” which you can carry with you if needed. A covered garbage basket or large backpack works well.
Community Evacuation. Local officials typically provide community evacuation information to the public through the media or sirens. It is a good idea to have a full tank of gas in your car if community evacuation seems like a real possibility. Also, have some cash and change on hand if possible. If you must leave your home, wear sturdy clothes and shoes, grab your disaster supplies kit, and close your windows and lock your home.
The best way to stay safe in severe weather season and in the event of natural disasters is to be prepared. Talk to your family about the natural disasters that are possible in your area, and discuss your emergency plan – so you can all be prepared and stay safe!
Iowa Association of REALTORS®