Are you and your family prepared for a natural disaster or any other emergency?
September is National Preparedness Month, created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to encourage us to prepare now for any type of emergency where we live, work or visit. This observation occurs in September because of the disastrous events of September 11, 2001 and it also coincides with the peak of the hurricane season.
How To Prepare for an Emergency
Here are some general steps that individuals can take to make sure their home and family are prepared for any emergency:
Access Alerts and Warnings. Download apps or sign up for other alerts and warnings about impending weather conditions or other events.
Test Communication Plans. Create and then test plans to communicate with each other and with outside agencies. For example, agree on an out-of-state contact as well as a local meeting place.
Assemble or Update Supplies. Do you know what supplies you'd need in an emergency, especially if your home is left without water or electricity? Do you have a supply of needed medications? Are you responsible for an individual with a disability who may have special requirements?
Document and Insure Your Property. If a disaster hits your house, are you adequately insured? Would you be able to recreate a list of your possessions? Create a detailed inventory of all your possessions including photos in case of a claim.
Safeguard Documents. Identify critical legal, financial, medical and household identification documents and safeguard them against damage or loss in the event of an emergency.
Plan With Your Neighbors. Don't wait to begin a conversation with your neighbors about potential emergencies. By pooling your resources you can create strength and camaraderie and at the same time identify neighbors who may need additional help.
Drill or Practice Emergency Response. Does your family have an exit plan to get out of the house quickly in the event of an emergency like a fire? What is the safest place in your home during a hurricane or in case of a tornado? Identify emergency response steps and practice them at least once a year.
You can learn more about each of these steps and how to put together an emergency preparedness plan at FEMA's Take Action website. You'll find helpful guidance and checklists for any type of emergency. Don't forget your workplace - you can also use these as a checklist for your own business or work location.
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