While nobody expects a disaster, everyone should be prepared. When disaster does strike your community, you might not have access to food, water, or electricity for several days. If you haven’t done so already, take the time to ready yourself for an emergency. According to the Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and other groups, these are the steps everyone should take before a disaster takes place:
In order to prepare for a disaster most effectively, it’s a good idea to educate yourself on what kinds of disasters are most likely to happen in your community. Check with your city and county government to find out. If they do not provide those sorts of resources, Check out FEMA, the Red Cross, and the CDC websites for more help on disasters.
Before you ever find yourself in an emergency, create an emergency plan to share with any family members or housemates:
Choose two safe havens that you can get to most quickly, and map the routes you would take to get there. Once you’ve created Plan A and Plan B meeting places, practice evacuating your home along different routes. And in case you need to ask for assistance along the way, know where local fire, police and other city services are. Try to keep your gas tank half full at all times.
Pets are especially vulnerable in a natural disaster. They’re used to a pampered life, and they may run away and hide if things get rough.
A few simple steps can help protect your home from almost anything nature has to offer. No matter where you live, you should have weather-tight doors and windows. You should also be sure your homeowner’s insurance policy and home inventory are up to date. Here are some DIY (Do-It-Yourself) tips for some of the most likely forms of disaster:
Prepare an emergency financial first aid kit. No matter your income level, rebuilding your life after a disaster can be incredibly costly and complicated—especially if you aren’t financially prepared and properly insured. By creating an emergency financial plan in advance, you might stave off unnecessary, and costly, headaches down the road.
Follow these steps:
Now that we live in such mobile-friendly times, the Red Cross has made several emergency apps available for your smart phone or tablet. There are first aid apps for you and your pets and disaster-specific apps with detailed information on pre- and post-disaster preparation. Another app will direct you to places offering emergency food and shelter. The Red Cross also has a friend-and-family locator you can use to locate loved ones. These apps are all free through the Apple Store and Google Play.
You may have the best insurance on the planet, but without an accurate inventory of your possessions, your insurance claim in the face of loss will be harder to process. Your insurance company will need proof of every loss.
Information from Sarah Owen with MoneyGeek.com