Friday, October 02, 2015

How to Teach Family Safety Lessons More Effectively

Every family should have an emergency plan. Whether fire or other natural disaster, power outage or other issue, families need to have a clear idea of what to do when a problem occurs. Even the youngest family members should have a good idea of what to do should the unthinkable happen. Here are some ways to keep your whole family engaged while helping them to prepare for possible disasters.


When thinking about family emergency planning, the first thing to do is figure out what dangers are possible in your area. Fires and power outage are universal, and should each have a plan. Do you also live in an area common to tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, or volcanoes? If so, you may want to work on plans for each of these as well. Have your kids help you to point out the possible emergencies, so they are aware of what they may be.


Once your plans are made, be certain to do drills of each. If you have fire ladders on upper windows, get them out of the box and be sure everyone can use them. Time people and offer rewards for the fastest escape. The best-run emergencies are those where people react on instinct. Drills create the muscle memory to act without thinking.


Prepare an emergency kit to keep you fed and hydrated for a number of days. It should have food and water for all of you, and an alternate cooking source like a camp stove to help make sure you can sterilize water and cook food. The amount of time your kit runs for is up to you; depending on the level of planning, people usually keep storage from between three days to three months. Seven days is usually more than sufficient for most emergencies, however. The other important part of this kit is to go through it at least once a year and replace anything expired. Food, flares, batteries, and first aid items can all go bad.

Plan a Meetup

Another thing to consider in emergency planning is what to do if disaster strikes when you are apart. If the kids are at school or practice, and you are at work or home, then how do you get to them? If you are within walking distance, this is easy. But if an earthquake strikes and you are further apart, consider giving them an alternate person to go to who is closer by and who knows that they are your children's emergency backup people. This means you can head to them and know they are safe.

Take a Class

Whether you want more info on disaster preparedness, or you want your kids to also be first aid and CPR certified, a family class makes a lot of sense when it comes to safety planning. Even if their role is most likely to call 911, a child who is prepared if a parent has a medical accident will be much more likely to respond quickly and maturely, which can mean the difference between life and death. There will be cases where they can do more than this, such as helping to stabilize a broken limb, or other problem while waiting for help. By taking these classes as a family, you open discussion to the roles you play, and the times when those roles can shift.

Revise as Your Kids Grow

Early on, your kids will likely follow and you will lead. However, you will find that your kids are much more engaged in safety lessons if you give them leading roles. Allow them to run drills and give you goals at times. Let them suggest changes or take on leadership roles. Give them real responsibilities in your emergency scenarios. This will give them confidence, and keep them paying attention so that if a real disaster strikes, they are as prepared as can be.

Your family’s safety is your number one priority. To keep them safe, make sure you are ready for any kind of disaster. Use these tips and other methods like installing a NorthStar Home Security system for the best results of keeping everyone happy and healthy.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer, recent graduate from the University of New Mexico, and avid runner. She loves to blog about fitness, health, home and family. Contact her via twitter @BrookeChaplan.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Important Renovations to Prepare Your Home for the Worst

When you find yourself surrounded by disaster (natural or otherwise), what do you do? You find safety for yourself and your loved ones. What happens to your house? What is the most efficient way to protect your home as much as possible? Perhaps your next home renovation should include protecting it from severe events.

Wild Fire

Droughts have caused wildfires in many places in the nation. If you live in one of those areas, have you considered changing your landscaping? The types of plants and materials that surround your home can either increase or decrease the effect of fire in the area. Here are a few suggestions:
  • Use pebbles or gravel instead of mulch.
  • Exchange your wooden deck for a concrete patio.
  • Decorate with more rocks and fewer plants.
  • Keep dried leaves and debris from accumulating around your property.
  • Apply a fire-resistant material to your exterior walls.
  • Switch to Class A roofing. This roofing withstands severe exposure to fire from outside of the structure.

Hail Storms

If you live where these storms occur frequently, consider replacing your current roof with an impact-resistant material. Class 4 shingles are the most resistant to hail, high wind, and streaks. These shingles not only protect, but they also enhance the curb appeal of the home.


    Torrential rains, melting snow, storms, and melting snow are some of the reasons that flooding happens. What measures can you take to prevent as much damage as possible?
  • “Dry proof” your home by applying sealing materials to your walls.
  • “Wet –proof” your house with foundation vents that allow water to flow through it instead of rising inside.
  • Raise switches, and circuit breakers, etc. at least a foot above the flood level of your property.


    Heavy winds cause your home to be vulnerable. Renovation ideas to better protect them include:
  • Repair or replacing loose or missing shingles.
  • Change to heavy-duty bolts on the doors so they are less likely to blow off.
  • Install impact-resistant windows and doors, like the ones available from Storm Shield LLC.


If you live in an earthquake zone, and your home is more than twenty years old, you may need to upgrade your home’s foundation in to strengthen it. It is also recommended to apply safety film to your windows and glass doors. Fires, hurricanes, hail, wind, and earthquakes can be devastating. What is the best way to protect your home? If you already have plans to beautify it, why not safeguard it as well.

Written by Rachelle Wilber