A quick and efficient evacuation will be required by some disasters, and in cases such as fire, the difference between life and death may come down to how quickly you can evacuate. Plan and practice all evacuation and escape routes with your family members. Your evacuation route should be the quickest, safest way out, and should consider the worst-case scenarios such as power failures that will prohibit use of elevators.
It is also very important to have a backup plan in cases where the main exits are blocked. Consider all possible exit options when planning your “Plan B”. Look for windows, balconies, etc. and work out the safest plan to escape your home. Keep in mind you’re your evacuation routes should not be too complicated so as to be “children friendly.”
Mapping It Out
Having documentation is very important in every emergency plan. Mapping is a great way to document your evacuation plan and safe places.
To map your home, start by drawing the floor plan of your house. Then draw possible exits such as doors, windows, and balconies. Mark locations such as emergency bag, extinguisher, first-aid kit, and utility shut off valves. Make sure your map shows both indoor and outdoor orientation points like elevators, garage, stairs, and large furniture.
To add the evacuation routes, use a different color to illustrate at least two escape routes from each room. Keep in mind that the escape routes should end at a safe point. Mark the outdoor safe point where all family members should meet in case of an emergency that requires evacuation.
As previously mentioned, some disasters require a quick evacuation, however, in many cases staying indoors is much safer. A detailed emergency plan should also list a variety of safe places inside your home such as a basement, or if you don’t have a basement, a lower floor interior room with a minimum number of windows and openings.