The Safety Plan

Don’t be afraid to take a big step. You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps.
— David Lloyd George

My risk manager colleague keeps hammering into my head that a hazard is the factor that can cause harm and a risk is the chance that any hazard will actually cause somebody harm. Risk management is, therefore, identifying hazards and putting steps in place to mitigate their chance of occurring or reducing the impact if they do. The key point is you can’t eliminate risks and so, from time to time, you have make sure you have plans in place to deal with them.

When I took that logic in to my home life I realised how easy it is to get slack. This is because most of the events that we as parents worry about have a low chance of occurring especially if we take some basic steps. We can’t do anything to stop earthquakes and floods but we can reduce the chances of fire by installing smoke detectors. Burglars are also mercifully rare, at least in Palmerston North although one morning I awoke to find the wheels had been stolen off my car (that's another story).

As my children grew I realised that I wasn’t always going to be there as the first line of defence and so I needed to develop a way of helping them understand the hazards and risks and what to do if they occurred. So I created the following safety plan which I periodically (haphazardly) update and print off. Please feel free to copy and use (click here for a pdf version).