8 Disaster Preparedness Tips – How to Prepare Your Home for an Emergency

8 Disaster Preparedness Tips: Disasters are inevitable – at some point in our lives, almost all of us will have to deal with an earthquake, flood, tornado, blizzard, or storm. But there is no point in worrying about your illness; the best way to defend yourself against an emergency is to prepare yourself.

Preparing for disasters can take many forms, knowing what type of emergency to expect and packing a “travel bag”, preparing your home and knowing how to return when the coast is clear. Follow these steps to make sure you have a foolproof plan in place.

8 Disaster Preparedness Tips
8 Disaster Preparedness Tips

Tascha Rassadornyindee / EyeEmGetty Images

1: Know what type of disaster to expect.

Each crisis requires somewhat different preparation, supplies and expertise. Find out which disasters your city, state and region are most at risk and plan accordingly.

  • Earthquake: They can occur in any state at any time of the year.
  • Forest fires: High risk in wooded areas with little rain, such as southern California.
  • Floods: The most common natural disaster can strike anywhere, but especially in low-lying areas.
  • Tornadoes: “Tornado Ally” includes TX, OK, IA, KS, NE and OH and is on alert from March to August.
  • Blizzards: They can occur wherever the temperature drops below freezing
  • Storms and hurricanes: The East and Gulf coasts are at high risk from June to November.

2: Subscribe to emergency alerts.

Receive notifications sent to your phone by your service provider or through a free FEMA or Red Cross app. Some employers use a service like LiveSafe to broadcast emergency information to their teams – see if your company or school is using it, and if so, download the free app.

3: Bring a “take away bag”.

If you have to leave your house in a hurry, you will want to have some essential items ready to go. Keep the following supplies, recommended by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, in a portable container in the area of ​​your home where you will take refuge:

  • Three days of food and water (at least one gallon per family member)
  • Flashlights and radio with batteries (or hand crank)
  • Additional batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle for help
  • Garbage bags and adhesive tape, with a dust mask
  • Key or pliers to disable utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Regional maps
  • Mobile phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
  • Wet towels and any personal sanitation or special family needs, such as pet supplies

(For additional recommendations, be sure to check out ready.gov.)

We also suggest that you have smaller versions of your kit with a few necessities such as walking shoes, non-perishable snacks and a flashlight at work. In general, you will also need enough cash for five days of basic needs (gas and food), but any amount of loan money will help you if the ATMs are down.

Once you’ve gathered your supplies, it’s worth going through them at least once a year to dispose of expired food and batteries.

4: Make an action plan.

When things get chaotic, you want to make sure each family member knows what to do. We suggest that you designate two meeting places (one nearby and a little further in your neighborhood) and hang a map with the spots marked near your emergency kit.

It is also a good idea to write down important contacts in case of power failure and there is nowhere to charge your mobile phone. Make a mini contact list – ready.gov has templates that you can print – with important numbers that anyone can put in their wallets. Also leave a copy in your emergency kit. Make a plan to register with loved ones in case local lines are blocked. Text messages often go through, even when the phone lines are blocked.

5: Prepare your house.

If the power goes out and you have time, unplug appliances and electronics and turn off air conditioners whether you stay or leave. This will prevent damage when electricity resurfaces. Leave a lamp on so you know when the power is back.

If the water lines could be affected, you will also want to fill your tub and close the line. Use this H2O for hygiene, such as washing hands and flushing the toilet to flush it.

6: Prepare your pantry.

If you’re staying indoors for a while, weather the storm with high-protein, plant-based items recommended by the director of Good Housekeeping Nutrition and dietitian Jaclyn London.

Shopping list:

Canned tuna / salmon canned black beans, olives, mixed nuts, dry roasted edamame, dry roasted chickpeas, whole grain instant rice, canned cereals such as quinoa, buckwheat or sorghum, dry pasta, oil olive / canola oil, low broth of salted vegetables, canned tomatoes, canned vegetables and other healthy canned food, garlic powder, onion powder, chili seasoning, salt, pepper, soy sauce , tomato sauce, ketchup and mustard.

7: Store everything properly.

How you store food can make a difference when it comes to retrieving items afterward, according to the US Food Safety and Information Service (FSIS). If there is a risk of flooding, make sure to store dry products in leaktight containers high enough to be safe from contaminated water.

Bundling food in the freezer can help them stay cooler longer in the event of a power failure. If you have an advance warning, immediately freeze any items you don’t need, such as leftovers, milk and fresh meat and poultry to keep them at a safe temperature for longer, and store your freezer with as much ice as you can. Ice-filled coolers can also be useful if the power is turned off for more than four hours.

Although you want to minimize the amount you open and close your refrigerator door after the power goes out, FSIS recommends keeping an appliance thermometer in your refrigerator and freezer to help you determine if food is safe to eat. eat. The refrigerator temperature should be below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezer temperature should be below zero degrees Fahrenheit.

8: Safe return.

Coming home after a major disaster can be intimidating. Don’t let your family go home without taking these precautions.

  • Check for exterior damage. Walk outside and check for problems such as loose or dropped power cables, damaged gas lines, and cracks in foundations or beams. If you have trees nearby, carefully assess their stability.
  • Note the sounds and smells. If you smell gas or hear a hissing noise, call the fire department and ask them to come and inspect the situation before going inside.
  • Then check inside. If the power is still off, use a flashlight (not a candle – open flames can burn objects or cause gas to ignite) to assess the damage.
  • Inspect the devices. For small appliances such as coffee makers and toasters, carefully examine the cords for frayed or exposed wires before reusing them. Refrigerators, stoves and washers can be more complicated; Call a service company to check the security of connections and components, and then replace anything that is badly damaged.
  • Document the damage. This can be emotionally difficult, but if you want to file an insurance claim, you will need a visual record of all damage with clear pictures and detailed notes before cleaning.