We always hope that nothing bad will ever happen to our home and belongings but, disasters happen. The best way to prevent less damage is to be prepared. We know our work place and every building we enter has these precautions listed on signs. What people do not think about is, it is always wise to have safety precautions set in place for your home.

How do I start an Emergency Plan?

When developing an emergency plan for your home you need to make sure everyone who lives in the house is present. You need to first discuss why you need to take precautions during a fire especially with young children. Then, move on to finding the exits (if you have young children you could make it into a game of who can find the exits the fastest). Letting your children help in the process helps keep them engaged and remember the plan better.  If you have multiple kids the buddy system is always a great idea. That way they have someone to get out of the home with. The evacuation procedure should be written down and practiced every other month.
Now that we have the beginning steps out of the way, it is time to begin what you need to do once a fire starts in your home. Once your smoke alarm has detected a fire make sure the family knows where and how to exit every single room. They should also know what the closest exit outside from that room is. If the home has become filled with smoke, the basic maneuver for getting out is to crawl down on the floor underneath the smoke to safety. Once outside the safest thing for you to do is never to go back in. Let the professional do what they do best.  

How do I prepare?

Make sure you have an emergency box at your ready as well. You should put items in an easy to care bag to be able to evacuate quickly. Someone should be assigned the task of grabbing the bag to ensure it makes it outside of the home safely. Some items to keep in mind while building an emergency kit are:
1.       Flashlight
2.       First aid kit
3.       Water
4.       Garbage bags
5.       Chargers for cellphones and laptops
6.       Complete change of clothes  
Not only do you have to have the essential items at the ready. It is best to also have personal items that you do not want to be ruined by the fire. That could be important documents, family photos, and personal jewelry. The upside to jewelry is if it has not been badly damaged most restoration companies have a contents cleaning service.
Do you have pets?
When planning a family emergency plan you want to make sure you do not forget about your pets! Have a list of dog boarding places near you or hotels that allow pets inside. Pets usually become very scared and anxious once a fire breaks out (just like humans), they may not act like themselves when you are trying to evacuate.

What Does My Insurance Cover?

The one thing most people do not pay attention to is what exactly is in their insurance policy. If you can not stay at your home, do you have enough ALE to cover the cost of living outside of your home? What does your policy say about fire damage in the home and do you have enough? There are many more questions a homeowner should ask their insurance provider to make sure they are prepared. That is why a yearly review is key to ensure you have the best coverage. Most insurance agents like to know what is going on with their clients. Reporting directly to your agent after the fire has been put out or even during could help you move forward with clean up. Insurance agencies have trusted professionals that you can call to come out and board-up, clean-up, and put your home back to normal.
Nobody wants to have an emergency occur and then, have to figure everything out. It is easier to have these things planned out ahead of time just in case an emergency does occur. Having an emergency plan in place for your home does not prevent you from every having an emergency but, it does help you be prepared.

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