Emergencies in and around the home level turtle time for forward planning and preparation, and you might say that it can be near impossible to prepare for an emergency within the home or even be ready for something. Ann, in some cases, this can be true. ‘You never know when something will happen, go wrong or need your undivided attention.
That being said, there are some things you can do to help you make the best of bad situations and ensure you are better placed to cope no matter what happens. The following post looks at some options you have for preparing your home and your life for the unexpected.
Preparing for an emergency: What you need to know
Know How To Shut Off Utilities
One important thing to know at all times is how to switch off your gas, electricity and water. You might need to do this for multiple reasons, from a flood, leak, damage to the property, gas leak and so on. Look for your water stopcock and know how to turn it off and shut down your gas and electricity.
For the water, this can either be via a witch in your kitchen by the sink, in a larder or typically under the sink. Once you have located it, you turn it clockwise to shut off the water and anti-clockwise to turn it back on again. If you have a switch stopcock, a good tip is to have the water running when you switch it off so it registers you are turning the water off and shutting it down.
The gas shut-off valve will be located on your gas metre and will be a lever you need to move to turn the supply off. To turn off your electricity supply, you need to find your home’s main panel and turn everything off.
Have A Backup Generator
Backup generators can be a lifesaver if you find yourself without power or be unable to use your power source. This can be due to having home renovations done or emergencies rendering it unsafe to use your utilities. A generator can help you to keep things running, such as refrigerators and medical equipment, and even to charge mobile phones so you can stay connected.
For a more efficient model and one which does not need to be connected or charged via the mains, Choosing solar-powered generators for homes can offer you a viable alternative and be helpful in any different scenarios.
While insurance policies can’t immediately protect you should the worst happen, they can be instrumental in getting you back on track and helping you to recover from any incidents which impact your life and your home. Home insurance can come in two different entities, contents and building insurance. Content insurance protects all of your belongings against damage or theft, and you can choose a level of cover that will easily replace everything you own should you need to.
Check the policy to see if it replaces like for like, and ensure you keep receipts and proof of purchase. Buildings insurance covers the structure of your home should it need to be repaired or rebuilt entirely. If you own your home, building insurance is a must for roof repairs from weather damage, replacing floors from floods, fixing damp or rendering issues and a whole host of other issues should you experience any of these concerns.
Check your policy includes extras such as covering emergency accommodation or emergency cover, for example, which aren’t always covered as standard and may require you or add these on at an additional cost.
Have An Emergency Plan
You and your family need to know exactly what to do in an emergency. You need to know how to escape, and you need to know where to go for safety. For example, this can be a lifesaver in the event of a fire or building collapse. Talk to your kids about what you want them to do in an emergency and how they can stay safe. Remember to clear all emergency exits for easy escape and fewer obstacles when you need to use them.
Discuss what happens if you feel threatened in your home, are at risk of harm, or are suffering a medical emergency. If you have family members you can call to help you out, make sure everyone knows what to do and who to call to ensure you can get to safety, or you have people who can come and support you should you need them to. Teach young children how to call 999 and what to say should they need to.
Build An Emergency Kit
Emergencies come in all shapes and sizes, and having a kit that can help you in different situations can be beneficial. Emergency kits can include the likes of;
- Protein bars
- First aid kits
- Insurance documents
- Copies of id
- Lists of phone numbers and addresses should not be able to access your phone.
Keep this handy and in an accessible area, and check it regularly to ensure everything is still fit for purpose and in a usable condition. If you drive, it might be expensive to have a kit both at home and in your car in case you need to make a quick getaway so you have what you need to hand.
Finally, having a list of emergency contacts to hand can be beneficial. Be it written down or stored on your digital devices or in cloud storage. These numbers can include your Dorset, dentist, local contractors, utility suppliers, locksmiths, mechanics, insurance companies, etc. Everyone you might need to contact in the event of an emergency needs to be listed so you can easily access the information and get the ball rolling as soon as it is safe to do so. Ensure you have a next of kin lifted and a lawyer if you have one so others can be contacted to inform them of your situation.
Preparing for an emergency will never be a waste of time, even if you never experienced something that can disrupt your life. Being prepared both practically and mentally can go a long way in supporting you and your family should the worst happen.