8 Disaster Preparedness Tips – How to Prepare Your Home for an Emergency
Disasters are inevitable – at some point in our lives, almost all of us will be affected by earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, blizzards, or storms. But there is no point in getting sick. The best way to defend yourself against emergencies is to be prepared.
Disaster preparedness comes in many forms, from knowing what kind of emergency to expect, packing a go-bag to preparing your house, and knowing how to get back there on a clear coast. Follow these steps to make sure you have a foolproof plan.
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1: Know what type of disaster to expect.
Every crisis requires slightly different preparations, stocks and know-how. Find out what disasters your city, state, and region are most at risk for and plan accordingly.
- Earthquake: They can occur in all states in every season.
- Forest fires: High risk in low rain forest areas such as Southern California.
- Floods: The most common natural disaster can occur anywhere, but especially in lower areas.
- Tornadoes: “Tornado Ally” includes TX, OK, IA, KS, NE and OH and is on alert from March to August.
- Snow storms: They can occur wherever the temperature drops below freezing
- Storms and hurricanes: The east and gulf coast are at high risk from June to November.
2: Sign up for emergency notifications.
Receive notifications from your service provider or via a free FEMA or Red Cross app on your phone. Some employers use a service like LiveSafe to relay emergency information to their teams. Check to see if your company or school uses them, and if so, download the free app.
3: Pack a “go bag”.
If you have to leave your home in a hurry, you should have some important things packed and ready to use. Store the following supplies recommended by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in a portable container near your home where you are seeking protection:
- Three days’ worth of food and water (at least one gallon per family member)
- Battery operated (or hand crank) flashlights and radio
- Additional batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Garbage bags and tape as well as a dust mask
- Wrench or pliers to turn utilities off
- Manual can opener for food
- Regional maps
- Mobile phone with chargers, inverters or solar charger
- Wet towels and personal sanitary facilities or special family needs such as pet supplies
(For more recommendations, see ready.gov.)
We also recommend filling smaller versions of your kit with some necessities like hiking boots, non-perishable snacks, and a flashlight at work. In general, you also need enough cash for five days of basic necessities (gasoline and groceries), but any amount of money ready will help if the ATMs fail.
Once you’ve got your supplies together, it’s worth going through them at least once a year to sort out expired food and batteries.
4: Create an action plan.
When things get messy, you want to make sure each family member knows what to do. We recommend determining two meeting points (one nearby and one a little further away in your neighborhood) and hanging a map with the locations marked near your emergency equipment.
It is also worth writing down important contacts if the power fails and your cell phone cannot be charged anywhere. Create a mini contact list – ready.gov contains templates that you can print out – with important numbers that everyone can store in their wallet. Also, leave a copy in your emergency equipment. Make a plan to check in with relatives in case local lines are blocked. Text messages are sent frequently even when the phone lines are blocked.
5: Prepare your home.
If the power fails and you have time, unplug the power cord and electronics, and turn off the air conditioners whether you stay or leave. This prevents damage when the current rises again. Leave a lamp on so you know when the power is back.
If water pipes could be affected, you should also fill your tub and switch off the pipe. Use this H2O for hygiene, e.g. B. for washing hands and pouring the toilet to flush it.
6: Prepare your pantry.
If you’re indoors for a while, weather the storm with protein-rich, vegetable, shelf-stable items recommended by the Good Housekeeping Nutrition Director and registered nutritionist Jaclyn London.
Grocery shopping list:
Canned canned tuna / salmon, black beans, olives, mixed nuts, dry roasted edamame, dry roasted chickpeas, whole grain instant rice, boxes such as quinoa, buckwheat or sorghum, dry pasta, olive oil / rapeseed oil, low-salt vegetable broth, canned tomatoes and canned vegetables, canned vegetables other healthy preserves, garlic powder, onion powder, chilli spices, salt, pepper, soy sauce, tomato sauce, ketchup and mustard.
7: Store everything correctly.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (FSIS), the way you store food can make a difference in the subsequent recovery of items. In the case, there is a risk of flooding, store dry goods in watertight containers. That is high enough to be safely exposed to uncontaminated water.
If you put food in the freezer, it will stay colder for longer if there is a power failure. If you are warned, freeze unnecessary items such as leftover food, milk, and fresh meat and poultry to keep them at a safe temperature for longer, and fill your freezer with as much ice as you can fit. Coolers filled with ice can also be helpful if the power fails for more than four hours.
Although you want to keep the amount you open and close when you turn off the refrigerator door as low as possible, FSIS recommends that you keep a device thermometer in your fridge and freezer to determine if food is safe to eat. The refrigerator temperature should be below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezing temperature should be below zero degrees Fahrenheit.
8: Return safely.
Coming home after a disaster can be daunting. Do not let your family return to your home without taking these precautions.
- Look for damage outside. Walk around the exterior and look for problems such as loose or dropped power cables, damaged gas lines, and cracks in the foundation or beams. If you have trees nearby, carefully check their stability.
- Note noises and smells. If you smell gas or hear a hissing sound, call the fire department and have them come over and check the situation before you re-enter.
- Then look inside. If the power supply is still disconnected, use a flashlight (no candle – open flames can burn objects or ignite gases) to assess the damage.
- Check the devices. For small devices such as coffee machines and toasters, check the cables for frayed or exposed wires before using them again. Refrigerators, stoves, and washers can be more complicated. Call a service company to check the security of connections and components, and then replace anything that is severely damaged.
- Document the damage. It may be emotionally difficult, but if you want to make an insurance claim, you need a visual record of all the damage with clear pictures and thorough notes before cleaning up.