If your smoke alarm sounds, how quickly could your family evacuate your home? You could have as little as two minutes to get everyone out safely, according to the American Red Cross, but 62 percent of Americans believe they have at least five minutes.
A family emergency plan could save lives during a fire, tornado, flood or other unexpected disaster. September is National Preparedness Month, so it’s a good time to create a plan or practice the existing plan with your family.
Here are some tips from ready.gov to get started:
Make sure everyone in your family knows how to receive emergency alerts from local officials. Learn more about alerts in your area at ready.gov/alerts.
Print this family communication plan and fill in contact information for household family members, an emergency contact, an out-of-town contact, childcare providers, schools, your workplace and other important contacts in case you can’t access your electronic address book. Also consider a wallet-sized version for easy access.
Identify an emergency meeting place where family members are expected to go after evacuating your home. Knowing where to go will lessen confusion during a crisis and reduce the chances of someone mistakenly entering the home to rescue a family member who already escaped. When choosing your location, be mindful of pets and family members with limited mobility. Convenient locations might include a mailbox at the end of the driveway, a neighbor’s house, church, library or community center.
Lastly, know how you would escape from each room in your home, have regular meetings to discuss the plan, and practice with a goal of getting everyone out in less than two minutes.
For more information on preparing for emergency evacuations, click here.