It is National Preparedness Month, and as it stands right now America is currently recovering from Hurricane Harvey, dealing with wildfires in at least 3 states, and preparing for a Category 5 Hurricane to strike somewhere in Florida. On top of that there are TWO tropical storms that have developed in the last few days. One behind Hurricane Irma, and one in the Gulf of Mexico. That is why preparedness is an incredibly important topic to discuss.
Being someone who takes preparedness seriously (I have a website dedicated to it), I wanted to share with you some tips on how you can properly prepare for any disaster. The important thing to remember is that disaster isn’t a matter of IF, but a matter of WHEN. You WILL face disaster in your lifetime. Whether that be natural in the forms of hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, tornados, etc. or in the form of job loss, economic turmoil, or other forms of disaster common to humanity.
Below are 5 Things You Must Do to Prepare for a Disaster. These tips will get you started on the road to preparedness, but they are not the end of being prepared. I will cover more tips for preparedness in coming posts, these are just the beginning.
5 Things You Must Do To Prepare For A Disaster
1.) Have a Disaster Plan in place.
Having a disaster plan is essential to preparing for any disaster. The old adage is that not planning is planning to fail. Having a disaster plan helps to put you in the right mindset when disaster strikes, and also increases your chances of survival. Before doing anything when it comes to preparing, you MUST have a plan in place that everyone in the family knows and understands.
That must including having the needed items to survive a disaster (water, food, shelter, medicines, etc.) but also knowing where to go, when to go, and how to safely get there, because there is no guarantee that everyone in the family will be in the same location when disaster strikes.
2.) Sign up for alerts and warnings in your area.
One of the best ways to get local alerts and warnings, is to get the official FEMA app. This app will give you weather alerts based on your zip code, disaster alerts, as well as tips on how to prepare for pretty much every disaster you could encounter.
3.) Have an evacuation plan and know your evacuation route.
There may come a time that staying in place for a disaster is a bad idea (like during a Category 4-5 hurricane). That means you will need to have an evacuation plan and know an evacuation route. My recommendation is to have several routes of evacuation because the main routes will more than likely be crowded, and have a plan for every member of the family as you may not be together, or you could get separated, when leaving for a disaster.
4.) Check your insurance coverage and review the Document and Insure Property guide.
As an insurance agent, I stress to my clients to read their policies, ask questions if they don’t understand them, and keep them in safe and secure places. When it comes to having your insurance papers in a disaster, I recommend copying them (and all important papers and documents) and having a “disaster binder” that you can take with you if and when you need to evacuate. That means having copies of all insurance papers for home, auto, boat, life, etc. and keeping them with you when you leave.
5.) Financially plan for a disaster.
Disasters are going to happen!! Much like death and taxes, they are inevitable. That is why it is extremely important to financially prepare for them. That may mean putting aside money every month in a “disaster fund” that would help pay for gas, hotel costs, food costs for evacuation, or helping you to stock up on needed items like food and water. No matter what you use your “disaster fund” for (as long as it is related to a disaster or preparing for one) make sure to have something put aside to help you when disaster hits. Often times ATM’s and banks are not operational right before, during, and for some time after a disaster. Keep a fund to help you when that happens.
Disasters are inevitable. However, preparing for them takes time and effort, and must be done BEFORE disaster strikes. If you are wondering how to begin your disaster preparedness, start with the above 5 tips. They are key in having the right foundation when it comes to being prepared. Be looking for other posts this month as we celebrate National Preparedness Month and give you tips on how to be prepared for any disaster.
Until next time,