Disasters don’t plan ahead, but you can. The entire month of September observes National Preparedness Month.
No matter where you live, you are subject to disasters. Natural disaster and man-made disasters affect everyone and will cause severe damage and endanger lives. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, landslides, wildfires, hot spells or cold spells are all natural disasters that can be deadly to people and property.
Man-made disasters such as terrorism, crime, power outages, famines, or war are just as terrifying as any natural disasters. Preparation is essential for the safety of you and your family. It can also ensure valuable personal possessions are taken care of properly before you lose them.
Deciding how long a disaster will last and the after-effects are the first step in preparation. Depending on the type of emergency, you may need food and water for a few days. Food that is easily stored and prepared is critical during a disaster. When disaster strikes, you want to make sure your family has water to last for a specified duration of time. It is recommended each family member have 1 gallon of water per day to remain hydrated. Having proper eating utensils, small stoves that run off propane or a grill for cooking, matches, candles, blankets and extra clothes are a few items to pack away in a safe, accessible place. Try not to forget about family activities! Pack away some board games, cards or books to help the time pass by. Having things for children to do will also keep their mind at ease.
More than half of all parents lack a designated meeting place to fall back to in an emergency. Family fire drills may seem silly, but they do serve a purpose. Unfortunately, many Americans don’t have a list of emergency contact numbers either. Make sure the entire family has memorized any numbers that are of significance in the case of disaster.
Finally, personal property is always a concern when natural disaster hits. Though it’s not always possible, you can do a few things to make sure you save the valuable documents that mean the most to you. Make an Emergency Binder.
If you have a computer, you can scan any documents and put them on an external drive. Store the drive someplace safe and dry. With today’s technology, we can save our photo memories more easily. If saving photographs of family is important, consider scanning them on an external so you can reprint them if the originals are lost or destroyed.
Most importantly, make sure your insurance policies are up-to-date. You can visit your insurance agent any time to review what you have, what is covered and what options you have in the event a disaster destroys your home or vehicles.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Preparing for a disaster might seem like an impossible task and we hope you never have to experience one. But if you do, government agencies like FEMA and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as organizations like the American Red Cross, provide excellent websites with enough information to get you started. These websites also offer suggestions on how to plan in specific instances, like being without power for weeks.
Your insurance companies will also have information you can use as you prepare. Insurance companies encourage families to prepare for disasters. It makes their jobs easier once the emergency is over and it also gives you peace of mind that you were covered correctly. Make sure to connect to your county’s Emergency Management system. They will be able to provide warnings, information and help if disaster strikes near you.
Use #NationalPreparednessMonth in social media postings.
The Department of Homeland Security designated September as National Preparedness Month to educate the public on the importance of disaster preparation.