FREE OR INEXPENSIVE IDEAS TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY
In the UK we may not suffer the major disasters found in other countries such as Earthquakes; Hurricanes; Tsunami's; Tornado's; Wildfire's; Floods; Drought's or War, but there is still a need to be aware and to plan just in case things go wrong.
We like to think our houses are completely safe and built to cope with all that can be thrown at us, But are they ?
Accidents do happen !
Any home is susceptible to a fire, and for those who have one it can be just as devastating as an Earthquake or Tsunami.
Understanding the risks and then using the following simple ideas can help you ensure that your family stays as safe as possible.
A postcode can cover a large area especially when rural and out of the main town and may not accurately show your home location.
Ambulances, Fire & Rescue Services and the Police use GPS and Ordinance Survey Mapping to quickly and accurately locate an exact address in the event of an emergency.
If you live outside of the town, even if it is just a mile, then make sure you know your exact map or grid reference. (See example shown in picture).
Keep this on a sticker on all your home phones and also as an entry in your mobile phone. Giving this exact location information will reduce any delay's finding your address and may save a life!
You can use Google Earth or a similar online mapping service, or even the GPS on some mobile phones to pinpoint your home and obtain the exact map reference for your property. Or click the button below to access the UK Grid Reference Finder.
In the event of an accident, it is imperitive that the Emergency Services quickly establish both the correct identification and medical history of the person they are trying to help. A task made very difficult if the person is alone, unconscious and unable to speak, and one that can delay emergency treatment or add risk of the wrong treatment being given.
Below are several free or inexpensive ideas that can ensure you receive the correct treatment immediately, and some practical ideas that help ensure that safety of the whole family.
The Medi-Alert Foundation have provided personalised emergency bracelets or necklaces for many years, these record details of specific illnesses; blood group; allergies and urgent medical requirements. Medical staff can telephone from anywhere in the world and obtain further details from a database. These are unfortunately restricted to certain conditions and illnesses such as Diabetes; Epilepsy or certain other life threatening illnesses or conditions.
MEDIC-ALERT: 0800 581420
Newer ideas are shown below which are not limited to certain criteria and cater for everyone are now available. All Emergency Staff are aware of these and will immediately check for their presence.
With so many people now carrying mobile phones, it has become one of the best ways to identify a person. I.C.E. 'Apps' are now available that hold all your necessary information. Keep the 'ICE' icon on the first page at the top where emergency staff can easily locate it. Where possible include a photo to help identify. Many of these apps are free!
For those with older mobile phones which do not support 'Apps', create a new address entry in your contacts list and name it 'ICE'. In the notes section or even the address box enter your name; blood group; allergies; illnesses and number of someone you want contacted. All Emergency staff are trained to check for this.
Small air-tight waterproof plastic canisters that hold a printed sheet of all your information. They are kept in the door of your home Refrigerator. A small sticker on your house door will alert medical or emergency staff of its presence.
In the case of where more than one person resides at location then include a small passport size photograph to help identify.
The Pots are free and can be obtained at your medical centre.
Motorcyclists and Cyclists can carry a 'Crash Card', which should be kept in the pocket of riding suit or back-pack. A small 'Dot' (coloured sticker) is attached to the visor of crash helmet, or sun glasses in the case of cyclists.
Powys emergency services will look for these in the case of an accident.
You can obtain one of these free from the Road Safety Unit.
Telephone: 01597 826979
These cards are carried in the glove box of your car.
A yellow triangle sticker on the windscreen alerts emergency staff to its presence in the case of an accident.
It is advisable to attach a small passport sized photograph so that emergency staff can accurately identify you if more than one person uses or is passenger in the car.
The modern home has many unseen dangers, are you really aware of them ?.
Click the button to take a look at some of our highlighted dangers, make all your family aware of them and keep your loved ones safe!
Would you be prepared ?
It is a cold and icy winter Friday evening, the snow is falling outside and temperatures are below freezing.
You give your child their Asthma medication and pack them off to bed, and as It is almost midnight, you take your own heart medication, change into your pyjamas and snuggle into your warm bed in the upstairs bedroom, pulling the duvet up under your chin as you drift off to a deep peaceful sleep.
Two hours pass and your sleep is disturbed by the shrill beeping of the smoke detector, you can smell smoke and hear the crackling of fire, shouting out the warning to your family you grab hold of your child and all quickly run for the nearest exit.
WHAT NOW ?
Suddenly you and your family are outside in the freezing falling snow dressed only in pyjamas, the phone you need to call the fire brigade is in the burning room, and your child is having an Asthma attack due to the irritation of the smoke on your way out. All you can do is watch your house burn!
NOW WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ?
WITH A LITTLE PLANNING THINGS COULD OF BEEN SO MUCH BETTER!
Fire can happen at any time of the day or night, but you can almost guarantee it will happen at the worst possible time. We underestimate the damage a fire can do, not just to our property but to our family, the damaging effects soon become apparent and can be very long lasting.
When a fire breaks out in your home, there is no time to get dressed, search around for belongings, and even to use the telephone to call for assistance.
YOU MUST GET STRAIGHT OUT OF THE HOUSE !
As in the scenario above, it could be in the early hours of a weekend, leaving you stranded outside in adverse weather in far from suitable clothing, without a phone, without money, and feeling without hope. Hopefully you have close neighbours, but some people live far away from any help.
It could be many hours before the Fire Brigade allow you to re-enter the house, if at all !
Thats a long time out in the falling snow dressed in pyjamas, and could extend into many days or weeks. Being a weekend the local Doctor's surgery is closed, trying to obtain another prescription for all your medications might be almost impossible until the monday morning. Without your bank cards or wallet how are you going to pay for accommodation and food?, and if your car keys are inside the house then what about transport?
YES PLANNING IS IMPORTANT !
If you have young children I am sure there are a few holdall's or rucksacks about, school bags discarded as the fashions change and replacements are purchased, dont throw them away, put them to life saving use!
Create a 'FIRE - BAG'
A small bag holding the essentials needed in an emergency which can be hung on the rear of the bedroom door, tucked under your bed, or hung beside your main exit where it can be instantly picked up as you leave.
A Fire-Bag can hold the basics to see you over the next few days,
Medications; Money; Contact lists.
And also immediately needed items such as communications and simple weather protection.
Read the contents list below, then create your own fire-bag now, do not put it off, if you do it may be too late!
See also the 'Emergency Bug-Out Kit' idea below.
In a sealed container place enough of your medications for 3 days.
You might not be able to get replacements over a weekend.
A PAYG mobile phone can help in contacting the emergency services and also relatives and friends to ask for help.
A small address book containing the contact numbers of everyone you would need to notify or contact for assistance. Insurance companies; Family; Friends; Work; Schools; Doctors etc.
Enough cash to see you over 2 - 3 days and to pay if necessary for any hotel accommodation and meals.
Having keys to the back door may help firemen. Keys to the car will not only give you some immediate shelter from the elements but also transport. Garage keys will also enable you to access a 'Bug Out Kit' as detailed below.
A few sealed bottles of water can be used to wash out smoke irritated eyes and mouths.
It can also be used to cool burns.
Smoke can quickly make a mess, a pack of wet wipes can be used to quickly wipe faces and hands.
A spare Dog lead will enable you to keep your panicking pet from getting under feet of firemen and the wheels of emergency vehicles. It will help if you need to stay away from home overnight too.
A torch is vital if there are no street lamps. Remember if you are later allowed back inside the house may not have any supply of electricity or working lights.
A First-aid kit is useful to treat minor injuries until arrival of medical help.
Poncho's or basic raincoats can be purchased in a pound shop, these might prove to be invaluable if it is raining or snowing and you are stuck outside in your night clothes.
In addition to the Fire-Bag, create a Bug-Out Kit.
I bet many of us have a few suitcases laying around, hidden away in the loft or garage, or balanced precariously on top of the wardrobe out of the way until needed for our next holiday. Why not make use of them all year round?
A sealed waterproof suitcase or sealable plastic crate makes an ideal Emergency Bug-Out kit, it can be stored away from the house in a garage, shed, lock-up, or even in the back of a van, Anywhere that can be quickly accessed in the event of a fire or other emergency.
WHAT SHOULD IT CONTAIN ?
A complete set of clothing for each member of the family from underwear to waterproof coats, instead of throwing away those old trainers, jeans and old jackets, place them in vacuum bags and remove the air keep to reduce size, then keep them in the sealed box well away from the house. (Not in a integral garage!).
At least you will not have to spend the night and weekend in wet pyjamas!
Create small toiletry bags for each member of the household, toothbrush and face flannel, even if you stay in a B&B or hotel it will be nice to be able to wash away the smoke.
For those with young babies, sterilize and seal a bottle or two, and add a few disposable nappies.
You can personalise your Bug-Out Box with the things you need, just remember it could be days before you can get money from the bank to buy new items if you have not got your bank cards or cash.
We have all become so used to Heath & Safety whilst at work, yet we unfortunately leave all thoughts of it behind when we leave to go home.
We also leave behind a lot of our sensibility; reasoning and attention, we have become complacent that our home is our 'Safe Place' and place ourselves and our families at high risk..
We have to think hard about what we use; how we use it; where we store it, we also have to challenge our attitudes to the risks our homes may offer.
Every room in the house has it's hidden dangers, and sometimes it is us that is the danger and we do things the wrong way. We originally learned Safety from our parents, taking it for granted that they were doing it right, but things change and what may have been acceptable many years ago may not be acceptable or safe today.
This inexpensive ebook is available to read on all e-reader devices, phones or computers. It explains the problems with our houses and the way we use them, taking each room in turn it lists dangers and bad practices, has many useful 'Tips' and has many ideas tohelp you keep your family safe without it costing you a fortune. It also has simple family exercises you can do together, not just fun to do but teaching all the family what to do if the worst ever happens.
This article maybe written for the US, dealing with Tornado's, Hurricane's and the varied other disasters they encounter, but much still applies to those that live in the UK, especially those who live in rural areas in times of heavy snow fall, flooding, or fires.