You have all the provisions necessary in case of an unseen emergency – but are you and your family truly prepared?
Even if you have an emergency kit, you still need to create and implement a family exit plan so that you and your loved ones can safely evacuate in the event of a fire, flood, or other natural or man-made disaster.
Since emergency situations usually occur without warning, it’s critical to have all the details organized ahead of time. Use the following guide to help create your family emergency plan, so you and your loved ones can stay safe in case you ever need to evacuate your home.
Why You Need an Emergency Plan
Each Canadian family is recommended to have an emergency plan and keep it in an easy-to-find, simply remembered place. An emergency plan will help you and your family be clear on what to do in different emergency situations, and where and how to meet or contact one other in case you are separated during a disaster.
Be Aware of Risks
Before you can begin creating your emergency plan, it’s helpful to narrow down the types of risks most prevalent in your area of the country.
For example, wildfires in Alberta, tornadoes in Ontario and blizzards in Nunavut are all natural disasters that are more common in each of these provinces. While a variety of hazards can occur throughout the country, it’s important to know which ones affect your region more often, so that you can be prepared for the specific risks associated with each disaster.
Besides natural disasters, other man-made emergencies – such as industrial accidents or power outages – pose a risk as well.
Visit GetPrepared.ca’s Hazards and Emergencies page and look at “Regional information” to find out which types of emergency situations most affect your province.
Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the types of disasters most prevalent in your region, you can begin creating your emergency plan based on this knowledge.
Highlight Your Emergency Exits
You’ll want to begin by drawing up a floor plan of your home, or photocopying an existing floorplan, and highlighting all the possible emergency exits from each room.
Then, designate a main exit route from each room, and an alternative exit route. If you live in an apartment building, never use the elevator in case of emergency – plan to use the stairs. Furthermore, draw up multiple emergency exit routes from your neighbourhood in case you ever need to quickly evacuate.
Identify Your Meeting Places
If ever an emergency arises and you need to leave your home in a hurry, there’s no guarantee that the family will be all in one place. Perhaps someone had left the house earlier to run errands, or someone else wasn’t home from work yet. That’s why it’s important to identify a safe meeting place where you and your family can plan to meet if you ever need to evacuate your home, or are unable to enter your house due to emergency circumstances.You’ll want to identify the following:
- A safe meeting place near home (such as the park down the street)
- A safe meeting place outside your immediate neighbourhood (such as a local coffee shop)
- Identify where your local area evacuation shelters are located
Prepare a Communication Plan
Figure out how you and your loved ones will remain in contact if family members are at work, school, or away during a crisis. Will you call or text their cell phone? Contact their teacher at school? Or call their office landline? Plan ways to stay in touch so each family member knows where and when to meet.
Prepare Your Emergency Kit
If you’ve already prepared a home emergency kit, you’re one step ahead! If not, rest easy – you can use our guide to gather all the necessary items you’ll need to stay safe in an emergency situation. This includes bottled water, non-perishable food, flashlights and important documents. You can even make a copy of your emergency plan and keep it with your emergency kit.
Discuss and Practice Your Plan
After you’ve prepared your emergency plan, you’ll want to discuss the plan with your whole family and make sure everyone is on board and knows what to do in case of an emergency. Make copies of the plan and distribute it to everyone in your home – discuss the types of hazards that could occur, and the steps to take in each situation. Practice your plan a few times, so you and your family can get familiar with the exit routes and meeting places you’ve outlined.
Protect Your Home with The Right Insurance
While we can’t stop a natural disaster from occurring, we can help prepare for it by protecting our homes with the right insurance coverage. That’s why it’s important to review your home insurance policy regularly, making sure everything is up to date. You may need to get additional coverage for situations that may not be covered by your current plan. At Desjardins Insurance, we offer a range of home insurance coverage options to fit your family’s specific needs. Get a quote today to see how easy it is to help protect your home from life’s unforeseen circumstances.