Ok, right now when we are not in the middle of a weather emergency, is when you need to start thinking about “How do I prepare for a weather emergency?”
We see it all the time, the weather forecasts are calling for severe weather and everybody is getting groceries, charging their phones, and getting candles and flashlights ready, but there are a few things to think about now before the severe weather is even in the forecast:
- Make a Family Plan– you have probably seen the ads for Ready.gov, they suggest you have a plan for emergencies and then share it with your family. On their site, you can download a template to help with the planning. There is also information on what to do before, during, and after for all types of emergency situations.
- Build a Disaster Kit– collect household items that you will need in the event of an emergency. Plan on having a minimum of 72 hours of supplies to give emergency workers time to reach you. Consider having items that will last through power interruptions like solar lighting, solar flashlights and a solar USB charger to re-charge phones and tablets. More info can be found at Weather.com or Ready.gov.
- Create a Home Inventory– Research suggests that more than half of consumers do not have an inventory of their possessions. Creating a simple home inventory helps you track what you own and what it is worth, making the recovery process easier. There are many web sites that offer templates for creating an inventory, plus there are software and smartphone apps as well. Or, you can hire a local business that will create a home inventory using video. Remember to store a copy off site.
- Update your Emergency Contacts– program your phone with the key emergency contacts, do not forget your children’s school. Make sure you have your ICE (In Case of Emergency) contacts updated in case you are in need of emergency help. Don’t forget your best home repair network, HOCOA’s phone number in that list! You should also have a printed list in case your phone dies because there is no power.
- Other Preparations –there are a number of smartphone apps geared for emergency situations. The Red Cross even has an app for Tornado season. Speaking of tornadoes, you might want to consider building a safe room.
- Other Things to Consider– know the plan at your children’s school and your spouse’s work, get a weather radio, make sure your pets are accounted for in your plan, fill up your gas tank, make sure you have some cash, know how to shut off the power and water in your home.
While this list covers the basics of getting ready for a potential emergency, there are many other preparations you can make. Check out the sites for FEMA, the Red Cross and the Weather Channel for more information.