Preparing for Future Disasters
Following the 3 P’s can help you prepare for emergencies, including natural disaster. No one wants to think of emergencies or disaster affecting them, but being prepared can greatly reduce the impact of a disaster on you and your family, and help you during the recovery process. Read on for helpful information, tools and resources as you plan, prepare and position yourself to handle the impact of an emergency.
Emergencies and disasters can be hard to predict but being informed and having an emergency plan in place before disaster strikes can help minimize the effects. Know when you’re most at risk for disaster. For example if you live in a coastal area, consider preparing specifically between June and November when hurricanes are most likely to strike. In areas where the climate is hot and dry, exercise special caution and planning during hotter months and in times of drought. Stay informed with emergency alerts. Authorized government and public officials use the Emergency Alert System to share critical information through various media outlets. You’ll also get emergency alerts to your phone through your wireless carrier but download the FEMA Mobile App too, so you’ll get up-to-date alerts, safety tips and resources. Develop a family emergency plan that’s updated and talked about regularly so every family member knows what to do and where to go in case of an emergency.
Emergency plans and disaster supply kits are key resources to help you prepare for disaster. Download free emergency planning worksheets and join the online FEMA preparedness portal for more tools and information to help you prepare and stay safe when disaster strikes. You should be prepared with your own basic necessities to last at least 72 hours after a disaster. Build disaster supply kits that include food, water and other basic supplies. It may also be a good idea to have cash on hand, in case you can’t get to a bank or working ATM. Make sure your supply kit is easy to access and carry, and consider building several kits so you can keep one in your car, home and office. A comprehensive list of emergency kit items and tools can be found at www.ready.gov/build-a-kit but in short, a basic emergency kit should include at least these things:
· Nonperishable food
· Manual can opener
· Battery powered radio
· Extra batteries
· First aid kit
· Dust mask
· Moist towelettes
· Trash bags
· Portable cell phone charger or backup battery
Safeguards like insurance and emergency savings can help position you to better handle the impact of disaster. Conduct a thorough review of your current insurance policies and talk to your agent to be sure you’re properly insured against damage and loss that can occur as a result of disaster. Flood insurance is an important part of the equation and something that isn’t typically included in standard homeowner’s insurance coverage. You can purchase a flood policy through an insurance agent, and the National Flood Insurance program provides affordable insurance to homeowners, renters and businesses in participating communities. To learn more contact an insurance agent, click here or call the NFIP helpline at 800-427-4661. Next, maintain an emergency savings fund. Experts suggest having 3-6 months of living expenses in an emergency fund to position your finances to handle an emergency. If you don’t have an emergency fund already established, start small and make steady contributions to build up your savings over time. If you have to use the money in your emergency fund, make temporary budget adjustments to replenish your savings as soon as possible. Finally, be aware of resources available to help you manage the impact of disaster. FEMA provides comprehensive assistance for disaster victims. Visit www.FEMA.gov, call 800-621-3362 or complete the online form for disaster survivors to learn more.