This post was originally published as the introduction to an issue of TheHomeSchoolMom newsletter. Sign up here and get access to subscriber exclusive resources.
October is Fire Prevention Month in the U.S., most often communicated to us with reminders to check the batteries in our smoke detectors as Halloween approaches. As homeschoolers, let’s do more than check smoke detectors to prepare for what may come, whether that be fire safety or another emergency.
- Update first aid kits for your home and car.
- Make an escape route from your home and practice it with your kids. Where will you meet outside?
- Purchase fire extinguishers and locate them conveniently.
- Obtain a fire escape ladder if you need one above the ground floor.
- Prepare go-bags for each family member, packed with necessary supplies.
- Have flashlights and batteries on hand.
- Develop safe words your kids will recognize if you need to ask someone else to help them at a practice or event you are not attending with them.
- Help kids learn addresses, phone numbers, and how to call 911.
- Think ahead about the most likely disasters of your area: flood, fire, tornado, hurricane, earthquake, chemical spill.
- Make a shelter-in-place plan. Consider how your family can cope for a few days to a week without groceries, prescriptions, power, water, septic service, or phone communication.
- Make an evacuation plan. Where would you take your family if your area needs to be evacuated? What will you take? What’s the plan for other relatives and for pets?
While this can sound overwhelming, some challenges have decent solutions:
- Fill a bathtub with water to give you water for flushing if your home loses power to your electric well pump.
- Inform the power company in advance of a family member dependent on an electronic medical device. Your street might be placed on a priority list for repairs, especially in rural areas.
- Purchase staples ahead of time and make sure you have a manual can opener and charcoal to get you through a few days of meals.
There is so much more you can do. If your kids are not too sensitive, consider including them in an Emergency Preparedness Unit Study that will help you in case of an emergency. Many kids enjoy being involved in their family’s safety preparations.
And then, each year (if not more often), when you hear or see those smoke detector battery reminders in October, revisit your emergency prep plan. Replace old fire extinguishers and old batteries. Remind yourself that the kids need to practice how to evacuate in case of a fire and how to call 911. Rotate the food in your pantry.
My wish for you is expressed by the Scouts’ motto: Be Prepared.