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Do you have a home emergency plan?

By Alanna Ngo

We never expect a home emergency, but they do happen. Preparing for an emergency means you can reduce the inconvenience and anxiety, and increase your family’s safety.

Get prepared ahead of time and rest easy in the knowledge that you’ve got home emergencies – such as blackouts, roof leaks or burst pipes – covered.

Know your home

Every home is different. Take some time to work out the location of important features of your power and water supply, and find out how to turn them off.

Find your fuse box and circuit breaker and familiarise yourself with the buttons and switches inside. Your water and gas mains are usually somewhere in front of your house, but in some cases may be down the side or elsewhere. Hot-water systems can be located outside a house, in a roof cavity or between floors.

Look for potential problem spots in your house and on the surrounding land. Take note of things like old roof tiles, sloping or uneven ground that could be prone to flooding, or trees that are very close to the house.

Know your numbers

Make a master list of important emergency phone numbers and laminate it. Store it in an easily accessible spot, like on the side of the fridge with a magnet.

Remember to add numbers for:

  • ambulance, fire and emergency
  • emergency plumber, electrician and State Emergency Service (SES)
  • family doctor, nurse on call and poison information line
  • everyone in the household.

Also make sure you put all of the numbers on the list in your mobile phone.

Create an emergency kit

Your kit should be kept in a sturdy, easy-to-carry bag or waterproof storage box and stored in a safe place. A box with a fitted lid is a good option. Make sure that it is easy to access so you won’t need to scramble around in the dark or wet for supplies.

The basics are:

  • a decent-sized first-aid kit
  • torch with extra batteries
  • a bottle of water
  • a spare phone charger.

Store the torch on top so you can find other items in the kit in the dark.

Other useful inclusions are:

  • a couple of old towels
  • spare house keys
  • a rain poncho
  • duct tape
  • a utility knife
  • a wrench or pliers
  • a thermal blanket.

Talk to each other

Make sure everyone in the household is familiar with the emergency plan and phone numbers. All the adults should know the locations of the home services, and even children from school age and upwards should know where the emergency phone numbers and emergency kit are.

Review your plan regularly

Revise your emergency action plan regularly and adjust it if the size or composition of the household changes. A good way to remember to review your plan is to check it on the first day of winter and the first day of summer every year.

An emergency plan for your home can turn potential disasters into smaller inconveniences and, importantly, keep things as safe as possible for your family.

Sourced: http://www.realestate.com.au/blog & NRMA

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