How to prepare for home emergencies
When disaster strikes, the last thing you want to worry about is hunting down bottled water or spare batteries for the flashlight. Preparing your home for emergencies in advance can ensure you and your family are ready for any situation. The following tips can help you prepare your home for a variety of emergency situations.
- Stock the essentials
Keep essential supplies stocked in an area of your home where you would take shelter in the event of an emergency. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA [http://www.ready.gov/], recommends families stock the following supplies:
- – Three days’ worth of food and water for each member of the family – including pets!
- – Extra clothing and sturdy-soled shoes
- – Crank or battery operated flashlights and radios
- – First aid kit, including essential medications
- – Hand sanitizer and wet wipes
- – Sleeping bags, blankets, and pillows
- Go through supplies at least once per year to ensure all food and batteries are not expired, as well as to check the condition of plastic water containers. It is also recommended to keep a small amount of cash on hand for supplies like gas or food in case ATM’s are not functional.
- Make an action plan
At school, kids practice drills for earthquakes, tornados, fires, intruders, and more to ensure they know what to do in the event of an emergency; our families need the same practice, too! Create a family plan for what to do in the event of an emergency, such as practicing different ways to get out of the house in the event of a fire. Likewise, designate two meeting places for the family: one within the neighborhood and one somewhere within the community. This ensures everyone knows where to go and where to meet in case you are separated.
- Know how to shut off utilities
Know how to shut off all utilities in your home, including turning off water, power, and gas lines. In the event that utility lines are damaged, such as after an earthquake, turning off the gas and utilities can help prevent leaks, fires, or explosions.
- Emergencies to prepare for
There are several types of major disasters that can strike your home. The kind of disasters you need to prepare for will depend on factors such as where you live .
- – Flooding, including flash floods, can become serious quickly. After consistent rain for several days – or several hours of heavy rainfall – be on the lookout for flooding. Likewise, most standard insurance policies do not cover flooding; a supplemental policy may be required.
- – California residents are no strangers to the dangers of earthquakes. Keep décor and furniture safely mounted on the walls and find several safe spaces in your home to take cover.
- – Power outages. Power outages can strike anytime; severe weather, overloaded grids, or damage to power lines can all cause outages. Keep flashlights and candles handy in the event the power goes out at night. Likewise, keep the freezer and refrigerator closed; without being opened, food in the refrigerator can stay cold for up to 4 hours, while most freezers can keep things frozen for up to two days.