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Creating A Family Safety Plan

03-04 Creating A Family Safety Plan (1) (1)

Accidents and disasters can happen to anyone, at any time. You will sleep better at night knowing that you are prepared for the unexpected. Use these simple 10 steps to prepare your entire family to act if an emergency occurs.

  1. Create a list of emergency telephone numbers. Include contacts that you would need if you would not be able to use your cell phone. Post the phone list in a central location in your home. Make a pocket size copy for each family member to carry with them, in their wallet or backpack.
  2. Create a written inventory of all medications used by family members. Have a central location where all medication is stored.
  3. Teach your children how and when to dial 911.
  4. Look for possible hazards in your home, such as things that are located high up and are in danger of falling. Make sure exits are clear and poisons are locked up.
  5. Learn how and when to use your fire extinguisher. Make sure they are up to date and have not expired.
  6. Check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. You should have a detector on each level of your home, especially near all bedrooms. If you do not have adequate detectors, purchase what is needed.
  7. Teach all family members how and when to turn off the water, gas and electricity in the home.
  8. Identify all possible ways to exit your home in an emergency and find safe spots inside your home for shelter in a disaster.
  9. Determine several evacuation routes out of your neighborhood, office building, or school. Choose a location where your family will meet a distance from your home, in case of emergency and you are not able to make it home.
  10. Have a separate plan for anyone with special needs, including children, seniors, disabled and pets.
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Janet Schiesl

Janet has been organizing since 2005. She is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Basic Organization. She loves using her background as a space planner to challenge her clients to look at their space differently. She leads the team in large projects and works one-on-one with clients to help the process move quickly and comfortably. Call her crazy, but she loves to work with paper, to purge what is not needed and to create filing systems that work for each individual client. Janet is a Past President of the Washington DC Chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and was voted 2016 Organizer of the Year by the Washington DC Chapter of NAPO.


  1. Diane N. Quintana on March 4, 2019 at 9:57 am

    Great tips, Janet, and very timely. I love your tip about figuring out a safe passage out of your neighborhood.

    • Janet Schiesl on March 5, 2019 at 8:46 am

      Hi Diane. Janet Barclay commented on the same thing. It popular and maybe something many people don’t think about.

  2. Seana Turner on March 4, 2019 at 10:22 am

    As someone who set a table on fire at a Christmas party, I have to completely agree on #5. My husband saved the day!

    • Janet Schiesl on March 5, 2019 at 8:39 am

      Ha Ha! Glad your husband was around. I try to review several of the items listed each year with my family. It’s so easy to forget when you are stressed.

  3. Linda Samuels on March 4, 2019 at 10:36 am

    Oh my, Seana! Thank goodness your husband was quick with the fire extinguisher. These are excellent emergency prep tips. Some of these we have in place and it looks like some we’ll need to work on. Thank you for the important reminder and checklist.

    • Janet Schiesl on March 5, 2019 at 8:41 am

      Thanks Linda. I remember making an emergency phone list for my kids after 9-11. It was before the wide use of cell phones. Now I guess everyone have the numbers they would need on their phone.

  4. Sabrina Quairoli on March 4, 2019 at 1:07 pm

    Important reminders! It’s so easy to forget to review these areas. We had a small electrical fire earlier this year and the first thing we did after we took out the lights/wiring, was go and buy a new fire extinguisher.

    • Janet Schiesl on March 5, 2019 at 8:42 am

      Hi Sabrina. Yes always be prepared. An emergency certainly makes you review your safety procedures at home.

  5. Janet Barclay on March 4, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    #9 is very good. I know how to get out of the building but never thought about what happens next.

    • Janet Schiesl on March 5, 2019 at 8:45 am

      Hi Janet. Living outside of Washington DC, we looked at evacuation routines and landing locations after 9-11. You want your whole family to be aware of the plan so they can act independently if necessary.

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