Emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere. Families may not be together and you may not have access to cell phones, gas stations, grocery stores or some of the other things that you are used to having every day. By taking a few simple steps now, each of us can make sure we are better prepared for the next emergency or disaster.
While each household is unique — young children, disabilities, pets, high-rises, isolated rural homes — proper preparations can help bring potentially bad situations to better conclusions. We’ve rounded up the essentials here, as well as tips for specific emergencies: flooding, fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and severe winter storms.
No matter which type of natural disaster your area is prone to having, each household should have some type of emergency prep. As soon as possible, you’ll want to do the following — before disaster strikes (if you don’t have a plan, we can help!):
1. Gather Information
• Take pictures. To help recoup any insured losses, create a room-by-room inventory now. Take photos or videos to better document items. Record serial or model numbers. Write down purchase dates and prices (best if kept on a computer and emailed to yourself for safe-keeping). For valuables like jewelry, have copies of expert appraisals. Put one inventory in your safety deposit box and keep a copy at home in a waterproof container.
• Make appointments. Schedule phone time or a visit with your insurance agent each year. Discuss updates that might be needed. If you live in an area with specific natural disaster risks, learn about any extra policies needed.
• Stay informed. Check local radio and TV stations. Check the weather channel, visit websites, social media sites. Whatever platform you typically receive your news, make sure you pay attention to updates.
• Safeguard documents. Prepare a vital records kit with copies of important documents to store in a waterproof and fireproof container in a safe place in your home. Include copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records, proof of vaccinations for pets, mortgages, passports, and birth/marriage certificates, as well as irreplaceable keepsakes and family photos.
2. Develop a household emergency plan
• Choose a contact person. Arrange with a friend or family member outside the area to be the emergency contact. Landline and cell phones are the quickest and most available technology and do work in many cases. If family members regularly use Facebook and Twitter, these may be good tools but since many “tweets” arrive via cellphones or computers, they, too, could be limited. Make sure family members and the emergency contact have details including information about your Facebook page, Twitter handle, and email address.
• Determine an escape plan. Decide on reunion spots via foot or car, depending on the type of disaster. If it is an emergency isolated to your house or block, choose a nearby rallying point that will allow a headcount. If the emergency involves a larger area, decide on a destination further away — perhaps a relative’s home or a public emergency shelter — and a backup to that in case that site also is affected.
• Learn evacuation routes. Run a few practice drills out of your area so you will know where traffic congestion might occur.
• Locate public emergency shelters. Get their rules. Find out if they can accommodate pets, for instance.
• Plan with neighbors. If a flood occurs or a tornado hits when you are not at home, have a plan with neighbors, sitters, or relatives for your kids and pets. Decide on how you will get in touch, what will be done and where everyone will go.
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3. Stock Supplies
Prepare an emergency supplies kit to ride out any event. If you are not sure what items to include in your emergency kit, Game Plan Preppers has you covered. We have our pre-built Bob and Super Bob kits or you can build your own. But first and foremost, you need to have a plan in place and we can help you develop one specific to your needs.
The safety of you and your family is our priority. Natural disasters and emergency situations are scary and stressful. We can help give you peace of mind knowing that you have a plan and products to help safeguard your loved ones.
In our upcoming three-part Preparing for Disasters series, we will share planning tips for specific natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, winter storms and more. For more information on our products and services, contact us!
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When the unimaginable becomes reality, you may find yourself without electricity, food, water, gas and communication. The last thing you want to be without is a plan. Start your plan now!