Do the blaring sirens of fire trucks and ambulances give you the willies? If you’re like most people, that answer is a resounding yes. Nobody likes to think of emergencies, but they creep into all of our lives.
Just watch the news and you’ll see coverage of homes torn apart by tornadoes, towns destroyed by hurricanes, and trees felled by lightning storms. And that’s just the natural disasters. Anyone who lived through the harrowing images of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, DC knows that emergencies strike when you are least expecting them.
Whether you live in a flood zone or make your home in a part of the country known for its earthquakes, it’s important to spend a little time to get you and your family on board with a completed emergency plan. It doesn’t take a lot of time to be prepared, but if an emergency does strike, it will be invaluable. Here are a few ways you can get yourself prepared:
Organize an Emergency Plan
Know evacuation routes. Designate specific meeting places both close to home and farther away. Get contact information for an out of state person that everyone can contact to relay news in case you are separated. Visit www.GetButtonedUp.com/emergencychecklist to get a free printable checklist of what you should include in an emergency plan.
Hold a State of the Union
An emergency plan is useless if other people living with you don’t know about it. Take the time to discuss it as a group. Ensure that everybody is aware and knows exactly what to do, where to go, and who to contact.
Document Your Valuables
Walk room-to-room with a camera or pen and paper and document furniture, electronics, collectibles, clothes, and other items of value. Estimate the replacement value for each and check that you have adequate insurance. Save the list and the photos as a digital file and, even if it is rough, send it to another person such as a relative a trusted accountant or lawyer for safekeeping.
Have Records Ready
You can’t grab your filing cabinet and take it with you in an emergency. But you can grab a binder, such as an accordion folder, or laptop computer. Make sure you have your most important information organized and ready to go in case something happens. Having it organized this way also means that, God forbid, if something happens to you, others will know where to find the information.
Organize Your Emergency Kit
Put water, canned food, cash, and a first aid kit in a waterproof box. Make sure you have enough of each of these things to last each person in the house for 5 days.