If a Disaster happens, will you be ready?

severe weather preparednessIt is Severe Weather Awareness Week! This week is to remind you and all your loved ones that the very best thing you can do is be prepared! Being prepared can reduce fear, anxiety, and losses that accompany disasters.

There are numerous variables at play during a natural disaster, and knowing what to do during those situations is important for both your health and safety. Here are some tips and strategies you can use to be better prepared should disaster strike.

Have a Plan

Communities, families, and individuals should know what to do in the event of a fire and where to seek shelter during a tornado. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so plan how you will contact one another. Think about how you will communicate in different situations.

You should be ready to evacuate your home and take refuge in public shelters. In some circumstances, you may not be able to safely leave your home, and it’s important have an emergency supplies kit ready that you can use until you can safely leave.

Basic Disaster Supplies Kit

The following items are recommended for inclusion in your basic disaster supplies kit:

  • Three-day supply of non-perishable food.
  • Three-day supply of water – one gallon of water per person, per day.
  • Portable, battery-powered radio or television and extra batteries.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries.
  • First aid kit and manual.
  • Sanitation and hygiene items (moist towelettes and toilet paper).
  • Matches and waterproof container.
  • Whistle.
  • Extra clothing.
  • Kitchen accessories and cooking utensils, including a can opener.
  • Photocopies of credit and identification cards.
  • Cash and coins.
  • Special needs items, such as prescription medications, eyeglasses, contact lens solutions, and hearing aid batteries.
  • Items for infants, such as formula, diapers, bottles, and pacifiers.
  • Other items to meet your unique family needs.

Utility Shut Off and Safety

Natural gas leaks and explosions are responsible for a significant number of fires following disasters. It is vital that all household members know how to shut off natural gas in the event of a gas leak or natural disaster.

Because there are different gas shut-off procedures for different gas meter configurations, it is important to contact your local gas company for guidance on preparation and response regarding gas appliances and gas service to your home.

When you learn the proper shut-off procedure for your meter, share the information with everyone in your household. Be sure not to actually turn off the gas when practicing the proper gas shut-off procedure.

If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and get everyone out quickly. Turn off the gas, using the outside main valve if you can, and call the gas company.

CAUTION – If you turn off the gas for any reason, a qualified professional must turn it back on. NEVER attempt to turn it back on yourself.

Water quickly becomes a precious resource following many disasters. It is vital that all household members learn how to shut off the water at the main house valve.

  • Cracked lines may pollute the water supply to your house. It is wise to shut off your water until you hear from authorities that it is safe for drinking.
  • The effects of gravity may drain the water in your hot water heater and toilet tanks unless you trap it in your house by shutting off the main house valve (not the street valve in the cement box at the curb—this valve is extremely difficult to turn and requires a special tool).

It is important that everyone who lives in the home knows where the valve is and how to shut it off. Label this valve with a tag for easy identification, and make sure all household members know where it is located. Click here to print out a tag to hang on your main water valve. Make sure this valve can be completely shut off. Your valve may be rusted open, or it may only partially close. Replace it if necessary.

Electrical sparks have the potential of igniting natural gas if it is leaking. It is wise to teach all responsible household members where and how to shut off the electricity.

Insurance and Vital Records

Obtain property, health, and life insurance if you do not have them. Review existing policies for the amount and extent of coverage to ensure that what you have in place is what is required for you and your family for all possible hazards. If you do not already store these documents digitally in a cloud-based system, consider doing it. In the event of a fire or if you lost the hard copies to these documents, you would still be able to access them and get the information you need.

Safety Skills

It is important that family members know how to administer first aid and CPR and how to use a fire extinguisher. Take a first aid and CPR class. Local American Red Cross chapters can provide information about this type of training. Official certification by the American Red Cross provides, under the “good Samaritan” law, protection for those giving first aid.

Be sure everyone knows how to use your fire extinguisher(s) and where it is kept. You should have, at a minimum, an ABC type.

Being prepared is key to help you and your family stay safe if disaster should strike. Whether it is a water damage due to flooding or any kind of storm damage no matter the size, 24Restore is there for you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We are the only call you have to make for weather related damage.