Dealing with an emergency at home is never easy — but it can be easier to manage when you’ve completed a few simple tasks ahead of time and have a plan in place to help keep your whole household safe if the unexpected happens. Keep these tips in mind as you put together your emergency preparedness plan:
- Research your regional risks. Before an emergency happens, find out what types of risks are common in your province or territory and get familiar with the Government of Canada’s emergency preparedness recommendations.
- Keep an eye on the weather. If a major storm or other weather event is on its way, the local news or weather station will likely be talking about it. If you aren’t already in the habit of checking the news or weather regularly, you can set alerts on your phone so you’ll hear about special weather warnings right away.
- Map out your escape routes. Create a map of your home and the surrounding area, and clearly mark a backup emergency exit from each room (if the window is the best exit besides the door, make sure each person in your household knows how to open the window from the inside). If you live in an apartment or condo, the elevators could be unsafe to use during an emergency, so learn the best ways to get out without them.
- Decide where you’ll meet if you need to leave your home. Choose a distinctive spot on the same side of the street as your home so no one will have to cross the road, especially with little ones or pets in tow. In case of an emergency that requires you to leave your immediate neighbourhood, choose a safe spot a few blocks away. Mark these meeting spots on your map.
- Don’t forget your pets. In case of an emergency, the best way to protect your pets is to take them with you if you leave your home. There’s a chance you may not be able to go back home right away, so you may want to research pet-friendly hotels, kennels, or emergency shelters in advance.
- Plan for a power outage. Some emergencies may have you stranded at home, without electricity. Learn what to do before, during, and after a power outage — plus 10 things to keep in your emergency kit.
- Update your contact list. Write down the phone numbers for local emergency services, your hydro and gas providers, relatives you may need to reach in an emergency, your family doctor, and your insurance broker in case you need to make a claim. Better yet, save these numbers on your phone.
- Review your home insurance policy. The last thing you should have to think about while you’re dealing with an emergency is whether or not your home insurance will cover the damage. If it’s been a while since you’ve reviewed your policy, update your home inventory and talk to your licensed broker to make sure you have the right coverage in place.
Print out a few copies of your emergency preparedness plan, including your map and emergency contact list. Store at least one copy of the plan on each level of your home, put one in your car, and keep a digital copy on each family member’s phone.
Your licensed insurance broker is there to support you when you need it most. In the event of an emergency, reach out to your broker right away.