Home Safety Month is a perfect time to prepare yourself and your family for an emergency. Planning ahead can keep you and your family safe if a flood, fire, flu pandemic, terrorist attack, or other public health emergency strikes.

Take these steps to prepare for an emergency:

  • Do a walk-through of your home. Check your smoke alarms, child safety locks, and first aid supplies.
  • Get an emergency supply kit.
  • Make a family emergency plan.
  • Stay informed.

Here are a few items you can gather today to prepare for an emergency:

  • At least 3 gallons of water for each member of your family
  • Food for at least 3 days—choose foods that don’t need a refrigerator, like canned fruit, energy bars, peanut butter, and crackers
  • Prescription medicines that you take every day, like heart or diabetes medicine
  • A first aid kit to treat cuts, burns, and other injuries.

In addition, have a sound fire escape plan in place for your family. In the event of a fire, time is the biggest enemy and every second counts! An escape plan helps you get out of your home quickly. In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for a house to fill with thick black smoke and become engulfed in flames.

  • Practice escaping from every room in the house
  • Immediately leave the home
  • Never open doors that are hot to the touch
  • Designate a meeting place outside and take attendance
  • Once out, stay out.

Finally, having working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home dramatically increases your chances of survival. Smoke alarm batteries need to be tested every month and changed with new ones at least once a year. Also, consider replacing the entire smoke alarm every ten years, or as the manufacturer guidelines recommend.

Start Today: Small Steps