6 Things Homeowners Should Do NOW to Prepare for an EmergencyFebruary 28, 2012
Hurricanes, floods and wildfires are common natural disasters in the US, bringing with them loss of life and property damage running into the tens of millions. When we read about natural disasters in the newspapers, we don’t think that these things might happen to us. But they could occur at any time, so it is important for homeowners to be prepared. Here are 6 things every homeowner should do now to prepare for an emergency:
1. Make an Evacuation Plan
The whole family should know what to do in the event of an evacuation. This plan should include evacuating any pets if needed. Your kids should be familiar with the evacuation plan, too, so guide them through it until they completely understand. Practice timing and ensure that everyone knows where the outside meeting point is, should an emergency hit.
2. Have Emergency Supplies Ready
Make sure you have emergency supplies of food and water, a First Aid kit and a source of heat and light, somewhere safe and easy to reach.
3. Plenty of Fuel
Always keep your gas tank at least half full if you need to leave in a hurry. You don’t want to fight lines at the local gas station if an emergency is about to hit.
4. Make Sure your Financial Documents are Safe
Buy a fireproof safe to keep your important documents safe. Store insurance policy papers, Social Security cards, passports, birth certificates, bank account numbers and other information inside it. Make scans of documents and upload them to a secure online information. Download and print them off after an emergency has cleared.
5. Know the Location of Every Shut-off Valve
It is important to know how to stop the gas lines and water from causing any potential problems in your home should a disaster occur. Find out how to turn off the gas and water, and make sure everyone in your family knows how to do this as well. Practice if needed.
6. Run Emergency Drills
Practice emergency drills to help give your family a sense of confidence should an emergency happen. Knowing what to do will ensure everyone is calm and not panicking. A good idea might be to assign everyone a different task, saving time in the process.
Contributed by freelance finance writer Sara Lennon on behalf of Merlin Insurance – the Quebec Home Insurance specialists.
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