Whether you live in the heart of the Corn Belt, the Deep South, or the Pacific Northwest, disaster can strike close to home. Protecting your family requires knowing which disasters are most likely to affect you and putting an appropriate safety plan in place. Here is a guide to help your family create an emergency plan to prepare for a natural disaster.
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Prepare for A Natural Disaster
When creating a family emergency plan, focus on the natural disasters most likely to impact your region.
Here’s how to learn where you should focus your emergency planning efforts.
- Read about how various natural disasters form and do their damage.
- This map from the Red Cross shows which natural disasters are most common in your region.
- Once you know which disasters are most likely to impact your region, adapt your home accordingly.
Some disasters may require your family to evacuate. Have a plan that gets your family to safety and helps you reunite if you aren’t together when disaster strikes.
- In addition to teaching kids how to call 911, prepare contact cards, and program emergency contacts into each family member’s phone.
- An evacuation plan has five basic components: an escape plan, a meeting location, a communication plan, and an out-of-town contact. Don’t forget to factor pets and people with special needs into your plan!
- It’s smart to have two meeting places: one in your neighborhood and a second outside your neighborhood.
- After creating your evacuation plan, practice it. It may seem a little silly to practice for a natural disaster when the sun is shining and the birds are chirping, but this is still a vital step. Run evacuation drills to ensure everyone can get out safely in two minutes or less.
Tips for Sheltering-in-Place
Here’s how your family can prepare to shelter in place safely during a natural disaster.
- The safest place to shelter indoors is an interior room with as few windows as possible, the CDC explains.
- A safe room should be stocked with water, nonperishable food, a battery-operated radio, a first aid kit, and other emergency supplies.
- Your emergency kit should also include items for babies and toddlers. Be sure to add items such as formula, diapers, sterilized bottles, and comfort items.
- Again, practice is key! Practice keeps your family’s skills fresh and ready for different scenarios.
If Disaster Strikes
Finances aren’t probably the first thing that will cross your mind if your household is disrupted by a major weather event. However, as you regroup, you’ll need to address several concerns.
- Remember that you will still owe mortgage payments even if your home is destroyed. Make a financial plan ahead of time.
- Contact customer support at your mortgage company to understand exactly what steps you should take following a disaster with regard to your mortgage.
- Additionally, you can look into applying for federal aid.
- If your home is destroyed, you can also look into loan modification or forbearance.
- Keep copies of important documents someplace safe outside of your home, such as a bank safety deposit box.
- Preparedness is everything! Compare your disaster plan to this 10-Minute Challenge from the Insurance Information Institute to make sure you have everything ready.
Emergency planning is an important part of keeping your family safe. However, it’s not enough to create your emergency preparedness plan and set it aside. Be sure to practice your emergency plan as a family so that you’re prepared whenever disaster strikes.
Thank you Sharon Wagner of Senior Friendly
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