The events of the 2017 hurricane season are stark reminders that it’s vital for a household to be prepared for emergencies. This means emergency kits both for the home and the family car and escape plans must be prepared well in advance of any emergency. It means calling the local FEMA chapter or the Red Cross to learn the type of natural disasters that are most likely to strike the area and to make sure the home insurance policy covers what damage they cause. Here are more detailed instructions when it comes to emergency planning:
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Children and Pets
Children who are old enough should be taught to call 911 and told about the possible emergencies that can happen in their neighborhood, be they floods, earthquakes, tornadoes or hurricanes. The homeowner should draw up a floor plan of the house, find at least two ways to escape from each room and mark them. Drills should be conducted from time to time. They do not have to be dour, but should teach everyone in the house how to escape and where to meet up afterwards.
Emergency Numbers, Fire Extinguishers, Important Papers
Emergency numbers should be near landlines and input into phone directories. These numbers include those of doctors and family members. Every member of the household who is old enough should know where to find the fire extinguisher and how to use it. They should be shown where the main valves are for the gas and water and how to turn off the electricity at the circuit breaker. There should be radios in the house so the family members can listen for updates and instructions. Fresh batteries should be kept in case the electricity goes out. Some radios can be bought that are powered by hand cranks.
All-important paperwork such as birth certificates, title deeds and insurance forms should ideally be placed in zip lock bags and stored in a safe. Additionally, make sure this paperwork and your insurance policies are up to date. The last thing you want is to be left out in the cold because your policy doesn’t cover disaster scenarios. It’s also not a bad idea to have the contact information for a lawyer that can help you get compensation for roof damage after a hurricane or other disaster if your insurance is giving you problems.
Food, Water, Medicine
There should be at least three days’ worth of food and water for every member of the household. This means about a gallon a day for every person. The food should be nonperishable. Everyone should have at least one change clothes. A first aid kit should contain, at least, an extra set of car keys, bandages, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes and a blanket. It should have cotton balls and swabs, disposable gloves, over-the-counter pain medications, flashlight and batteries, rubbing alcohol and gauze. Another kit should be kept in the car.
These precautions should keep a family safe in their home or help them find emergency shelter in the case of a disaster.