September is National Preparedness Month, a time when the government and organizations across the United States encourage people to make plans to deal with disasters. Many families do not have plans in place to deal with emergencies. A disaster such as a fire, flood, or storm can occur at any time, and your family may be in different locations such as work or school when it happens. You will need a way to get in touch with each other and a plan to meet and go to an alternate location if you cannot stay in your home.
Have a Family Meeting to Create an Emergency Plan
Schedule a time for your family to get together and make an emergency plan. Think about the types of emergencies that might occur and what you would need to do to stay safe in the aftermath. Assign tasks and responsibilities to different members of your family.
Choose Places to Meet
Identify two places where your family members can meet in an emergency. If something happens to your home, such as a fire, you should have a place in your neighborhood where you can gather. If you are unable to return to your home or need to evacuate, you should have another location outside your neighborhood where you can meet. Make sure everyone knows which location to go to in different circumstances and how to get to each from home, school, or work.
Select an Emergency Contact Person
Choose an emergency contact person who does not live in your immediate area. If local phone lines are overloaded or not working, it may be easier to call someone long distance to check in and relay messages than to reach your family members in the same town. Make sure everyone has the emergency contact number written down in a safe place or saved in a cell phone.
Be Prepared to Evacuate
Prepare for the possibility that you may need to evacuate your home. Identify a hotel or motel where you could stay or ask friends or relatives if you could stay with them. Your community might also set up shelters for evacuees. If you have pets, make sure your chosen location will accept them. You should practice driving your evacuation route twice a year and find alternate routes in case roads are impassable.
Have Supplies to Shelter in Place
If there is an emergency such as a storm or power outage and you are able to stay in your home, you will need emergency supplies. Make sure you have flashlights and working batteries, a battery-powered radio, three days’ worth of nonperishable food and bottled water, and other supplies your family uses on a regular basis, such as medication, baby supplies, and pet food. You should also have a first aid kit at home in case someone gets injured and you are not able to seek medical treatment immediately because of the emergency.
Make Sure You Have the Right Homeowners Insurance Coverage
A disaster such as a storm or fire can cause significant damage to your home. After you have made sure that your family is safe, you may need to pay for repairs and other expenses. Make sure you have enough homeowners insurance to protect you in the event of a disaster. To get a quote for a homeowners insurance policy, contact Petruzelo Insurance.