Nobody likes to imagine their life situation upended by a natural disaster, but ignoring the possibility is dangerous folly. After all, the east coast has its hurricanes. The mid-west is no stranger to tornadoes. And the west coast contends with earthquakes and mudslides. No matter where you live, natural disasters are a fact of life, and being prepared for them is one of the most important things you can do to ensure you and your family’s safety.
By taking a focused and balanced approach to emergency preparation, you can be rest assured that in the unfortunate event that disaster strikes, you are adequately equipped to survive the emergency and cope with the aftermath (i.e. replacing your possessions, hiring a water damage repair service, etc).
Preparation is one of the most important, and most overlooked, aspects of emergency planning. Be sure to account for every member of your family (young or old and include pets!). Know where they would likely be at different times of the day. Make sure you have important documents copied and stored somewhere safe ahead of time. Familiarize yourself – and your family members – with evacuation routes and shelter locations. It is also useful to go ahead and contact the services you’ll need in the aftermath and find out what you can do to facilitate the recovery process.
Put together an emergency kit that can be grabbed at a moment’s notice. This kit should include 3-days-worth of food, water, clothing, medicine, and other supplies that your family will need. Additional items to include are: tools such as a hammer and crowbar, a disposable camera, portable radio and extra batteries, flashlights, sleeping bags and one or more tents, eating utensils, and copies of your important documents and identification. Your kit should also be portable since you may need to evacuate quickly.
Make sure to take the time to get your family together and go over your emergency plan. Ensure everybody is well aware of meeting points, evacuation routes, methods of communication, and shelter locations. Then practice it until everybody is up to speed. It’s just like a fire drill at school. When the actual situation happens, you can expect chaos and confusion, so taking the time to practice the procedures beforehand will go a long way to protecting you and your family’s safety.
Once your family has safely evacuated and the disaster has passed, it is time to put the pieces back together and recover from what happened. You may have lost possessions, your home may have been damaged, but, if you’ve done your preparation, you and your family will be safe and you can start to rebuild. Possessions can be replaced. There are recovery service providers that can focus on fire or structural damage, as well as water damage repair, etc. to help you restore your home. And, in time, your family will recover from the disaster. Proper planning will ensure that everything is handled as smoothly and quickly as possible.
- Photo Credit: title=”City flooding” by CECAR – Climate and Ecosystems Change Adaptation R, on Flickr
Helen Hoefele is a part of an elite team of writers who have contributed to hundreds of blogs and news sites. Follow her @HelenHoefele