Fire drills and first aid courses – many of us have had to hope for the best while preparing for the worst at one time or another. However, there’s one area we often overlook when taking the necessary steps in safeguarding our future with the help of emergency preparedness: our homes.
Creating an emergency plan for your household can be incredibly upsetting and uncomfortable. However, discussing how best to handle multiple emergency scenarios ensures your loved ones are more likely to cope with and navigate stressful situations.
Often, when people hear ‘emergency plan’ or ‘emergency preparedness’, they think of natural disasters. While this may not be a grave concern in South Africa – we certainly have good reason to be prepared. With crime rates on the rise, you may want to initiate a conversation around your household’s emergency plan – whether you live with your family, a roommate, or by yourself.
As outlined by the Red Cross, there are three simple steps in creating your emergency plan. We’ll be looking at them through a lens of personal safety in relation to crime, as opposed to natural disasters.
Step one: Identify the emergencies you’re most likely to face
Depending on where you live, these emergencies could be anything from home invasions to hijacking. Once you’ve outlined these scenarios, interrogate them. Identify the access points where someone may be able to enter your home, as well as where all the members of the household sleep or spend most of their time. How would someone’s escape route or plan-of-action differ if an invader entered through the back door, as opposed to the front? How, if at all, would the time of day affect that nature of the emergency?
Step two: Identify the responsibilities of each person in the home
These could include hitting a panic button, hiding in a specific spot, or exiting out a specific route outlined in your plan. While staying calm under threat is easier said than done, discussing and assigning these responsibilities beforehand can better equip your loved ones to respond calmly and effectively.
Step three: Put your emergency plan to practice
Take a walk around the house while discussing your emergency plan. Does everyone know where the panic button is? Does everyone remember where their hiding spot is? Ensure everyone is comfortable with the plan and their outlined responsibilities.
From the way buildings are constructed to security checkpoints at airports, disaster mitigation is a part of our everyday life. Don’t be too uncomfortable to bring this conversation into your home, as identifying vulnerability can help immensely in limiting, or even preventing, emergencies.