Planning for an emergency can be a daunting task, but it is one that is necessary if you are going to keep your family members safe and prepared should the worst and unexpected happen.
If you’re upstairs in your home you likely know whether the front door, the garage, or other doors and windows will be the fastest and safest to use as an escape. But what about your basement? It may be less obvious, and will be even less so during an emergency.
That’s why it’s important to develop a strategy for escape from any area of the home. Here’s how to plan to get out of your basement in the case of an emergency.
First, you need to make sure the basement of your home has egress windows and a window well. If your windows aren’t large enough to meet the safety standards you’ll want to upgrade your windows so that they are bigger. They should be no less than 5.7 square feet in size, and no more than 44 inches off the floor. It should open easily without any keys or tools. If you don’t have an egress window well, you’ll also want to plan on basement window well installation.
Your window well needs to have at least nine square feet of ground space (at least three on each side). If it is 44 inches below ground or more you need to have a permanently-affixed ladder or steps inside to allow shorter occupants to escape. In order to make your basement safer, you may want to keep a ladder near the window as an extra safety measure.
As you physically practice your escape routes with your family (yes, you should have a written plan and practice it periodically with your family members) be sure you include your basement. This is one way to be sure that you have a plan in place to get out of your basement in case of an emergency. With practice, your family won’t have any trouble knowing how and where best to escape your home from any starting position.
In your planning and the execution of said plan, you may be wondering how different window well cover sizes and materials affect your emergency escape.
Whether you buy window well covers from Home Depot, or window well covers from Lowe’s, you want to make sure they are easy to open from the inside but can be locked from the outside to keep intruders away.
Clear or bubble window well covers are a great way to keep your egress window well clear of debris that may make it harder to escape (and as a bonus, it also lets in a lot of light during non-emergencies!) If you have odd shaped window wells you may need to consider getting custom window well covers.