Eight Steps to Ensure Your Family is Prepared in an Emergency
September is National Preparedness Month. That means it’s a great time to take a moment to be sure that the whole family knows what to do if a storm or other unexpected event strikes your home. While those of us in the Midwest may not have to worry about hurricanes and wildfires, we do have to take steps to be ready in the event of flooding, hail storms, tornadoes, blizzards and other significant weather events that might cause storm damage requiring the services of a property restoration company.
Here’s a list of Eight Steps to Ensure Your Family is Prepared in an Emergency. Take a moment to review them now, in the calm BEFORE the storm.
- Make an emergency plan. The first step in being prepared is having a plan. Create a family emergency checklist that specifies each family member’s responsibilities so everyone will know exactly what to do when an unexpected event occurs. Don’t forget to determine who’s responsible for your pets as well!
- Create an emergency kit. In addition to having an emergency plan, you should also have an emergency kit that you store in your basement or other storm shelter area. At the bare minimum, your kit should contain: water, shelf-stable food, medications for all family members, first aid supplies, blankets, a battery-powered radio, extra batteries, a flashlight, a whistle and some cash. For a comprehensive list of emergency kit items, visit ready.gov.
- Make repairs. Oftentimes, storm damage can be exacerbated in areas in and around your home that needed maintenance before the storm, such as loose shingles on your roof, a storm door that wasn’t latching properly, or a tree that was in need of trimming. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. A single tree limb that could have been trimmed before a storm can result in enough damage to your home that you’ll require board-up service. So take some time this fall to really assess your home and the surrounding area to ensure it’s ready for whatever Mother Nature has in store.
- Create a home inventory list. If you don’t already have a home inventory list, you need to create one, and soon. Without a list, it can take longer for you to make a claim if your home suffers a catastrophic event, such as fire and smoke damage or strong storm damage. Some of your damaged personal property may be restorable, but sometimes it’s just lost forever. Would you even be able to remember the contents of each room in your home, let alone be able to attach a value to them? Storing a list in a safe place will facilitate your insurance claims, as well as any claims for federal aid programs you may need to make, such as FEMA.
- Make sure you’re covered. Once a year, you need to locate and review your insurance policies. Touch base with your insurance agent and make sure you understand your coverage. Add to it if necessary and ensure that your jewelry and other valuables are updated as well. Then, tuck away your insurance policies, along with your home inventory list and other valuable documents are in a fireproof, waterproof safe, preferably in your basement.
- Save for a rainy day. Even if you have great insurance coverage, expert money managers recommend that you have, at minimum, two months of living expenses set aside for a rainy day. Should your home sustain storm damage that requires storm repair and restoration, whether it’s a flooded basement or a damaged roof that might need board-up service, unexpected expenses can add up quickly. Plus, you might need to take time off work to put things back together after a disaster occurs, particularly if you own your own business.
- Know how to turn it off. If a weather event caused storm damage to your home, such as a burst pipe, would you know where to shut off the water? Water damage, left unattended, can create an environment that’s conducive to mold growth down the line, so it’s imperative that you stop the flow of water as soon as possible. Do you know where your fuse box is and is it clearly labeled? Take a moment to locate your main water shut-off valve and label your fuse box. You should also know where your gas shut-off valve is. However, you should always contact your local utility immediately if you suspect a gas leak. If your area is particularly prone to power outages, you might want to consider purchasing a generator.
- Practice the plan. Your entire family should be familiar with your family’s emergency plan. They should know where to meet if cell service is unavailable and what to do if your home is without power. Practice your family emergency plan on a regular basis, so everyone knows what to do if a storm or other unexpected event occurs. For more tips on preparing your family and home for disasters, visit the American Red Cross.
“I never thought it would happen to me”
When a natural disaster occurs, the most commonly heard phrase is, “I never thought it would happen to me.” The odds are in your favor that a storm or other unexpected weather event will never cause storm damage to your home that might require the services of storm restoration company. However, being as prepared as possible in advance can go a long way toward keeping your family safe and minimizing the amount of storm restoration needed.
While we hope that you never need our property restoration services, we know the stress and mess that can be caused by water or storm damage. It’s good to know that the team of certified and trained restoration experts at Hays + Sons are just a phone call away, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. With 140 employees, 120 vehicles, and eight separate locations, Hays + Sons has you covered.