Families: Planning for emergencies

Explore suggestions to prepare your family for fire and tornado disasters.

Having a safety plan in your home is important, especially when you have small children. Children under the age of 5 are more likely than older children to die or be injured from fires in their homes. Thinking about having a house fire is frightening and most of us would rather not think about such a horrific event. If this ever happened your child or children would depend on you to get them out safely. This is why it’s very important to have a plan in place.

Teach your child to get out of the house through the nearest door or window in the event of a fire. If your child’s bedroom is on a second floor or higher, consider buying a safety ladder. Decide on a place to meet outside the home and emphasize to your child to never go back inside, no matter what!

In the event of a tornado, teach children to stay away from glass windows. Go to the basement if you have one or go to a hallway, bathroom or closet on the lowest level of the house. Having toys, books, chairs and blankets can make this experience more pleasant with children.

A fire is not the only emergency that might affect your family. Choose someone outside your home to contact in an emergency. Be sure to let that person know you might call them for help. Having a First Aid kit in your home is very important, as well. You can make your own by putting bandages, ointments, gauze, iodine etc. into a zip lock baggy. If someone in your household is on any kind of medication you should always keep an emergency dose on hand and make sure you replace anything you use.

It’s also a good idea to keep an emergency “kit” on hand in case of a power outage or blizzard etc. Include canned items, bottled water, diapers, formula and anything else you might need. Battery operated or crank powered radios and flashlights are really handy in any household.

The American Red Cross’s website gives some good suggestions based on disasters that are common in your area. You can also see these Michigan State University Extension articles for more information:

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