While we hope disasters will never come, they have become an unwelcome fact of life here in the northeast and throughout the country. As the expression says, "Hope is Not a Strategy," therefore it is vital that we have a plan to address a disaster if it occurs. Planning and preparing for a disaster may save your life or the lives of your family. At the very least, being prepared can make the difference between comfortably dealing with a difficult situation and suffering until help can arrive from others. Here are some pointers from a local emergency management department to consider as you plan and prepare for a possible disaster. First up—emergency kits:
- A Stay At Home Kit: Plan for three days without power. Include items like non-perishable food, water (1 gal per person per day is recommended), flashlight with batteries, extra batteries, a battery-powered radio, extra batteries, manual can opener, any medical supplies or prescriptions (this includes extra glasses or contact lenses), cash (ATMs won't work without power!) and important personal and financial documents (more on that in a second).
- A Kid/Pet Kit: If you've got kids or pets, plan for them too. Think of items like formula, food, diapers, toys, comfort items.
- A Go Kit: If you need to leave your home during an emergency (say it's being evacuated for flooding or a tree has fallen on it), have a backpack ready for each person that includes water, high energy snack foods, extra clothes, and shoes.
- Not everything in the kit needs to be bought. Take inventory at home first – if you've got canned goods or cereal on hand, that counts!
- Hit up the dollar store. Both of our experts said this is a great option for stocking up. After all, you don't need the fanciest flashlight — just a flashlight that works.
- Spread out the expense. Try assembling your kit over time. Commit to buying one or two items per month.
- Post emergency phone numbers near the telephone. It also make sense to keep the names and phone numbers of your plumber, electrician, alarm company and pest control company and any other providers of home services on hand.
- Know how to turn off utilities such as gas, electricity, and water.
- Listen to weather forecasts, especially if a storm is predicted.
- Have an emergency escape plan. Familiarize yourself with escape routes, plan a way for you and your family to communicate or meet after the disaster phases, and educate yourself on safe places to go during a disaster.
- If you have a boat, make sure you know how to store it safely during a disaster.
- Make an inventory of your possessions (along with receipts and serial numbers) and store it somewhere other than your home (e.g., your office, friend's house, safe-deposit box).
Senior Loan Officer
NJ LIC #0749868 PA LIC #27282