Natural disasters are unpredictable, but you can familiarize yourself with the most common events in your area and prepare.
Follow these tips and you’ll be more able to cope if the unexpected becomes a reality.
Conduct a Home Inventory
Do an inventory of the things you own inside and outside your home. Remember, your home inventory should also include items stored off of your property, such as in a storage locker or at a marina.
No one can remember everything they own, especially if they face a major loss. You’ll be too busy trying to put the pieces back together and you’ll probably be very emotional, too.
The simplest way to do one is with a free app where you can photograph and record your items. This information can speed the insurance claims process and jog your memory at a very stressful time. It is also extremely helpful for your insurance agent when it’s time to renew your home insurance, because they can properly align your coverage with your needs.
Understand Community Resources
Larger communities usually have warning systems that may include sirens. However, text, email and phone alerts are usually available too, but you’ll need to opt in to stay in the loop.
Those in more rural locations will definitely need to know which group handles emergency management in their area. It may be a governmental agency or a local non-profit. Keep their contact information close at-hand and develop a strong word-of-mouth network.
Track the Weather
If disaster strikes, you may not have electricity. However, you can check the weather if you have a hand crank or solar radio that allows you tune into one of over 1,000 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather stations. They provide official warnings, advisories, forecasts, and more. Good radios also have a flashlight and USB charger.
Create a Disaster Plan
Workplaces, schools, daycares, and public buildings should already have disaster plans, but you’ll need to review them so you know where to go and what to do during a disaster.
Ensure you also have one for your home, put it in writing, and rehearse it with your family. It should include the appropriate response to the most likely threats in your region and evacuation procedures.
Every family member should know where they should meet if they’re not at home and what they should do if they can’t return. Don’t forget to include your pets in your plan.
Create a Communication Plan
It is not unusual for family members to be in various places when a disaster strikes. As a result, communication becomes extremely important.
Most people rely on cellphones, but you’ll also need a predetermined spot for messages. Networks often congest and sometimes don’t work at all. Consider your local police station, Red Cross, or community hall.
If you’re on a family cellphone plan, you can also activate location sharing so you know where everyone is, even if you can’t reach them.
Create Emergency Disaster Kit
It is important to store at least 72 hours of supplies for you and your family. A basic emergency kit should include at least the following items:
- Clean drinking water (at least 1 gallon per person, per day)
- Non-perishable food
- First aid kit
- Medicine & prescriptions
- Crank radio, charger, flashlight
- Extra clothing, blankets, shoes, and coats
- Identification, insurance documents, and emergency contact information
- Pet supplies
- Coins and small bills (ATMs may not work or shops may not have change)
Update Your Insurance Before It’s Too Late
When a storm is bearing down on our region, it’s already too late to secure a flood insurance policy. The time to evaluate your insurance coverages and add on additional coverages like flood insurance is before you need it.
You can’t predict or prevent disasters, but you can certainly prepare. Keeps these tips in mind and you’ll be better positioned to keep your loved ones and your household safe if the unexpected occurs.