How to plan for household emergencies

As much as we’d like to cover our loved ones up in bubble wrap to keep them safe, accidents, mishaps and emergencies are unfortunately, sometimes unavoidable. 
That, however, doesn’t mean that you cannot do something to protect your family – having a plan in place in case of a household emergency could very well be the thing that saves someone’s life. 

Not sure where to start? Relax! Simply follow these important guidelines:  

Collect emergency contact info 
It’s important to note that household emergencies can range from a medical trauma like a family member experiencing a heart attack to a fire or even a burglary. And while we might not want to focus on those ‘in the event of’ moments, it’s important that everyone in your family knows whom to contact in case something goes wrong. 

Start off by making a list of important contact numbers and clearly label when those details will be helpful. Remember to also include an alternative number in case the first option doesn’t work. For example: 

  • Medical Emergencies: 112 (from your cell phone) or 10177 from any phone will call an ambulance; add in your local GP’s number as well as any other friend or family member who could assist during a medical emergency. 
  • Fire Department: 10111 or, and here you insert your local fire department number. 
  • Police and Security: 10111 or, and insert your local security company’s number. 
Scrutinise every possible situation and make sure that you have the right numbers in case of that emergency. 

Then, make sure that you have a few copies distributed throughout your home (laminate it to ensure that it lasts). Lastly, don’t forget to add these numbers to your and every member’s cell phones – check and check again that these numbers are easily accessible on their phones in case of an emergency. 

Set up emergency exits 
Whether you live in a small apartment or comfortably big house, it’s important that you and anyone living with you knows how to get out – especially in the event of a fire. 

Start by drawing up a floor plan of your home where all the possible exits from each room are marked. From here, plan a main exit route and an alternate pathway from each room to outside. For those living in an apartment block, make sure you know where the exit stairs are located. 

Don’t forget to carefully instruct your family on how to safely open any electric-operated mechanism in the event of a power-surge or electricity outage. 

Also, plan where you need to meet, with your family or housemates in the event that you need to evacuate suddenly. 

Get kitted for emergencies 

  • Make say sure your home and its members are well-prepared for any emergency: 
  • A well-stocked first aid kit; 
  • A fire extinguisher( which should be checked regularly) and any other fire protection A battery-operated flashlight for when the lights go out, or rather give each person a kinetic torch (no batteries needed)
  • You could also add important notes in the different kits. For example, note that an electrical fire should never be extinguished with water but rather use a dry powder to do so. 
Keep things safe 
While birth certificates, marriage certificates, passports, drivers’ licences and any other important documents could be replaced, doing so can take weeks and sometimes even months. And all too often one or more of these documents are required when there’s an emergency. 

So, make copies of all those valuable documents and keep it in a safe place – inside and outside of your home. You may want to store them in a fireproof safe and/or give them to relatives and your friends for safekeeping. 

Lastly, ensure that you have recent photos of each person in your home – printed copies and digital copies – in the event that someone goes missing. 

Plan for your pets
Emergencies also affect pets that live with us. Make sure that they are also part of your safety plan – think about what to do with them and how to get them out when there’s a fire. Make sure that your emergency contact list includes the numbers of your nearest vets in case of  a medical emergency.

Do you have any other tips you can share with us? Please tell us in the comment box.

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