Whether you are a new homeowner or just looking to implement some more safety practices, a home evacuation plan is a very useful and important tool to have in place. In this article, we will answer some frequently asked questions about home evacuation plans so you can ensure the safety of yourself and your loved ones.

What is a home evacuation plan? 

A home evacuation plan is a well thought-out evacuation route to take when your home is no longer safe. For instance, if you experience a fire or earthquake in your home, what is the plan you currently have in place? Where are the safety exits in your house? Where should your family members meet once you are outside? A home evacuation plan maps out the steps to safely exit your home, if needed, and what to do afterwards. You can include multiple options for evacuation, or one simple route. However you choose to establish this plan, make sure you evaluate it with your family frequently.

When will you need this type of plan?

You will need a home evacuation plan in a handful of situations. For example, during a disaster, such as a fire, residents will be required to leave the dwelling in a very short amount of time with little to no warning. Often times, natural disasters or unavoidable circumstances happen unexpectedly and sometimes, when you’re sleeping. Having a pre-determined route to take in case of these disasters can help relieve stress and panic during a very overwhelming time. 

What does an evacuation plan like?

A home evacuation plan is simply a map of your home with exit routes marked out. The plan should have an aerial view of your home layout, with fire exits clearly marked. The plan should feature lines leading from all areas of the house, with two distinct exit routes from each room in the house (where possible). These exits can be doors or windows, as long as everyone can safely exit and make it outside. This way, even if one of the mapped exits is blocked, there is always a second option to use to evacuate safely. Additionally, if you experience an earthquake, make sure your family knows what to do and how to protect themselves.

How will I know if my home evacuation plan will work?

The easiest way to see if your home evacuation plan works is to practice. Similar to a drill your children practice at school, run an evacuation drill when all members of your household are present. This way, everyone will understand the different routes available to them. A drill will help everyone feel at ease, and in case of a real emergency, will ensure everyone evacuates safely. 

What about my belongings?

There’s insurance for that! When making your home evacuation plan, it’s important to remember safety first. Your belongings are replaceable, but you are not. Depending on the situation, you may be tempted to grab your beloved personal items. However make sure to only prioritize pets and yourselves first. If you can grab it safely as you exit, take your cell phone (to call for help). We know not everything is replaceable, especially if an item as sentimental value. However, for those that are, you can have peace of mind knowing your insurance will take care of your inventory list.

Know your neighbourhood

It’s also important to know your neighbourhood when making your home evacuation plan. After you have safely evacuated your home using this plan, there’s a chance the immediate area surrounding your home will no longer be safe. Therefore, it’s important to understand the larger layout of your neighbourhood and add it to your evacuation plan. In case of an emergency, it’s also important to connect with your neighbours for support and assistance through difficult times. If your community already has an emergency plan, make sure you and your neighbours understand it. This includes pre-planned evacuation routes and emergency shelter locations. In the event of an emergency situation, pay attention to local radio stations or tv stations. They will be able to provide specific instructions for your community.

Create an emergency kit and make it accessible

Another great addition to your home evacuation plan is an emergency kit. Every house should have one, with materials such as a first aid kit, flashlights, and batteries, to name a few. Make sure everyone in your family knows where this emergency kit is kept, and make sure it is in an accessible location. If there is a member of your family that has special needs, ensure the emergency kit’s locations and materials are easily accessible for them.

Be aware of fire extinguisher locations in your home

Finally, if your home is already equipped with a fire extinguisher, make sure both adults and older kids know where it is kept. A big emergency can be prevented if members of your household understand how to use the fire extinguisher, so make sure everyone who is physically able knows how to operate it. If you don’t currently own a fire extinguisher or have one in your home, we highly recommend purchasing one.

We hope this article helps you in creating your home evacuation plan and stresses the importance of it. To make a home insurance claim, visit our page here.

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