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Emergency Planning Is Your Family Prepared for an Emergency?
By Brooke Bugatch



You may be surprised to find that hazards exist inside nearly every American home. So it's never too soon to sit down with your family and make a plan. By preparing your family to handle such an emergency, you can help everyone get out safely. Here are a few simple things you can do to make sure your family is not only prepared for a fire, but for any emergency:

Create a Fire Escape Floor Plan.
Draw a basic floor plan of your house. Then draw in all of the windows and doors. In one color, draw a line that shows the fastest way out of each room. Then, in another color, draw a line showing the second fastest way out. Make sure everyone in your family knows the escape plan and studies it.

Know What to Do in Case of a Fire.
Pick a meeting place outside of your home where the whole family can gather. Hold home fire drills and make them realistic by blocking some of the exits. Hold your drills at night as most fires happen in the dark. Make sure everyone knows that once you're out, stay out!

Teach Your Family Escape Tips.
Close all doors behind you to slow the spread of fire and smoke. If smoke is present, crawl as low as possible to the floor as you escape. Always test doorknobs and spaces around closed doors with the back of your hand. If the door is warm, try another way out. If it's cool, open the door slowly. Slam the door shut if smoke is present.

Other Things to Think About.
Make sure babysitters know your escape plan.

Check to see that even your youngest children can unlock and open all doors and windows. If your windows have security bars, equip them with a quick-release device and teach everyone how to use them.

Test your smoke alarms once a month and replace the batteries in them once a year. Fire alarms that are more than 10 years old need to be replaced.

Finally, talk to your neighbors about how you can all work together in the event of an emergency. If you think ahead and communicate with others in advance, you will be better prepared to keep your family and loved ones safe.



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About the Author

Brooke Bugatch, Liberty Mutual
4000 Legato Rd Suite 500
Fairfax, VA 22033
954-551-7303

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