Family Safety Plans
With the whole family on different schedules and participating in different activities, there are some things that are important to be on the same page about. Creating a family safety plan is necessary in keeping your entire family informed, safe, and secure in the event of an emergency. As a parent, you have the responsibility to keep your children safe. The best thing that you can do for your family is to prepare for situations and know how to handle them. Having a family safety plan means being prepared for anything, from a natural disaster, to a home fire, abduction, or even a school shooting. It’s important to have a family safety plan in place, because we never know when something might happen. The best we can do is stay on guard and be prepared.
A family safety plan should be collaborative with your spouse and children. Everyone should be involved in creation, so that it is easy for everyone to understand and retain. To make it less scary and easier for the kids to understand, use the family safety plan as practice for problem solving skills in the form of a puzzle or game. Use situational quizzes to help your child understand what to do in the event of an emergency. The family safety plan should include an emergency contact list. The people in your life that you would seek help from if something were to happen to you or your child should be included, not just the family members taking part . Leaving phone numbers on the refrigerator or a central location for quick reference and pre-programming those numbers into the household’s phones can speed up the process in the event of an emergency. It is also essential to include a list of child care services that your family can contact in the even that you, the parent, are unavailable. These lists should be updated regularly.
Fire safety is one of the largest concerns in family safety planning. Creating alternate escape routes to the front or back door in the event of a fire or home invasion are important so that your family can quickly evade the danger. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. The National Fire Protection Association recommends that households with children consider drawing a floor plan of their home and marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors. Mark the location of each smoke alarm; that way everyone knows where to go in case of an emergency. Then, decide an emergency meeting point. This could be on a street corner, at a neighbor’s house, in a backyard shed, or somewhere that everyone will know to go to find each other once outside.
If your children are old enough to stay home alone, teach them what to do in case of an emergency. Spotting scams, knowing who and who not to open the door to, and the difference between an emergency versus one where it is safe to let people into your home are all important facts to share with your children. Empower your kids by giving them the tools to protect themselves such as how to stay safe in public and at school, what types of behaviors are okay and one that are not okay, and who can be trusted.
All this knowledge is great, but it can be lost if it is not implemented, which is why practice is key. If your family does not practice the plan, then you cannot be certain that it is being implemented correctly. This also gives the opportunity to answer questions and see how your children perform under pressure.
Back to Archive