You never know how you’ll react in an emergency situation until it happens. That’s why planning an emergency escape route in your home is important for safety. Although we hope the situation never arises, you can easily become prepared for any home emergency, be it fire, flood, earthquake, or risk of electrocution with the tips below.
Start by drawing a floor plan
Do you have children or grandchildren who sleep over? It’s important to get kids involved in the plan. A fun way to do this is to have them draw the floor plan. It will also help them learn the plan. Using markers or pencil crayons, have them start by drawing the outline of your home and highlighting all the doors and windows.
Walk through your escape plan
Visit each room. Inspect all of the potential exits and escape routes. Make sure the windows open and that the doors close. Look at how your rooms are set up. If there is a fire, could that big chest of drawers be blocking the window? Are the electrical outlets being used properly? It’s important for everyone to know that closed doors can slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
Pick a place to meet outside your home
Pick a location a safe distance from your home where everyone can meet in the event of an emergency. Mark the location on your escape plan. While you’re outside, be sure to check that your house or building number can be seen from the street so that emergency vehicles will be able to find your home. Learn your relevant emergency phone numbers (the local pizzeria doesn’t count).
Practice your emergency escape plan
It’s time to walk everyone through the plan so they understand it. Don’t forget the pets! They may not be able to learn it, but thinking about their safety will help you sleep better at night. Then, practice your escape plan at least twice a year so you’re ready to use it should you need too. A great time to do this is when we change the clocks ahead and back and replace fire alarm batteries.
Test your knowledge
Pop quiz. With your eyes shut, do you know the locations of all your emergency exits? Do you know the locations of your smoke detectors? Most of us don’t. Check with your provincial government to identify where smoke and carbon dioxide alarms should be placed and then mark them all on your plan. Be sure to mark fire extinguishers too. Bonus points if you have a security system with a monitored fire alarm – it may even qualify you for a lower insurance premium.
Check in with your insurance agent
Did you know that your home’s replacement value can change over time? This is caused mainly by renovations that increase the value of your home, making it more costly to rebuild. That’s why it’s important to talk with your insurance agent prior to and after any home renovations to make sure you have the right coverage to protect you, your home, and its contents.
*Remember: The amount it costs to rebuild your home is not the same as the market value of your home.