How To Prepare for a Natural Disaster

write emergency plan for natural disaster8 simple steps to keep your family safe

Here’s how to prepare for a natural disaster. Disaster preparedness is key to keeping damage and stress to a minimum. Follow this how-to guide for eight simple steps to prepare for a natural disaster by creating an emergency plan. 

  1. Create an emergency contact list. You should have the phone numbers of your immediate family members memorized, in case you’re not able to access your own phone in an emergency. Beyond that, it’s helpful to have a contact list to avoid extra stress during an emergency. Everyone in your household should know where and how to find this list, and it should include:
    • Utility companies. You may need to access these numbers quickly if your gas or power must be turned off to avoid potential danger or additional property damage.
    • A trusted, local restoration company. If you have experienced structural damage during a storm or other natural disaster, you should immediately call a trusted, local restoration company. They can provide emergency board-up service, assess the damage and help you get started with the insurance claim process.
    • Your insurance agent. You will need to contact your insurance agent to report any damage you’ve experienced. If you have enlisted the services of a restoration company, they can help you communicate with your agent about the damage.
    • Friends, neighbors and non-immediate family members. This list should include anyone whom you would want to notify that you’re safe or check on to see if they need help.
  2. Buy and stock a first aid kit. Choose one that’s portable enough to take with you if you must evacuate your home. The American Red Cross suggests you put the following items in your kit:
    • Adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
    • Absorbent compress dressings
    • Adhesive cloth tape
    • Antibiotic ointment packets
    • Antiseptic wipe packets
    • Aspirin
    • A blanket
    • A breathing barrier or mask
    • An instant cold compress
    • Non-latex gloves
    • Hydrocortisone ointment packets
    • Sterile gauze pads
    • 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
    • Oral thermometer (non-mercury/non-glass)
    • Tweezers
    • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
  3. Build an emergency kit of food, water and supplies. Gather your emergency supplies, storing non-waterproof items in airtight plastic bags, then pack them into a portable duffel bag or tote.Ready.gov recommends your emergency kit contains the following: 
    • Food (a three-day supply of non-perishable food)
    • Manual can opener for food
    • Water (a three-day supply; one gallon of water per person, per day)
    • Prescription medications (a three-day supply)
    • Any other medically necessary devices
    • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
    • Flashlight
    • First aid kit
    • Batteries
    • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
    • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream (if applicable)
    • Pet food and extra water for your pet (if applicable)
    • Whistle (to signal for help)
    • Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
    • Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter-in-place)
    • Moist towelettes and other personal and feminine hygiene products
    • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
    • Cell phone chargers
    • Glasses and contact lens solution
    • Cash or traveler’s checks
    • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically and/or stored in a waterproof, portable container
    • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
    • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water
    • Fire extinguisher
    • Matches in a waterproof container
    • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
    • Paper and pencil
    • Books, games or puzzles
  4. Designate an area of your home as your emergency shelter. Choose an area in the basement of your home (if you have one.) If you don’t have a basement, choose an innermost room without windows if possible. Once you have compiled your first aid kit and your emergency kit, stock these items in your emergency shelter and review the location with every family member.
  5. Plan escape routes. In the event that it is safer outside your home during an emergency, you will need an evacuation plan. Identify and draw out escape routes, particularly for two-story homes. Try to plan out two different routes to escape from any room. For more guidance on home escape routes, go to NFPA.org.
  6. Designate emergency meeting places. Should a natural disaster make it impossible to shelter at home, designate two meeting places; one in your neighborhood and one outside of your neighborhood, in case streets in your area are closed off.
  7. Assign responsibilities to each family member. Make a list of the tasks that will need to be performed in an emergency and designate which family member is responsible for them. These tasks might include:
    • Attending to young and elderly family members, and pets
    • Grabbing the emergency and first aid kits if you need to leave your home
    • Conveying plans to other family members
  8. Practice the plan. Disaster preparedness is not a one-time job. Once you have identified your emergency plan and created your emergency shelter, it’s essential to ensure every member of your family is comfortable with the plan and will know exactly what to do in case of emergency.

About Hays + Sons

Hays + Sons does disaster restoration right, with a focus on their customers and their needs. They offer professional help in areas such as board-up services, storm repair, mold remediation, water removal, fire and smoke repair, and restoring personal property. As the Official Restoration Company of the Indianapolis Colts, they strive to go above and beyond in meeting the needs of those who call on them for help with property damage and communicate with them throughout the entire restoration process. Contact them today so that you can return to your normal.

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