Twelve Steps to Disaster Preparedness to Protect You and Those You Love

Emergency preparedness checklist for a disaster.

As September draws to a close, we want to give one more nod to its status as National Preparedness Month by sharing some disaster readiness tips for individuals. In a previous blog, we discussed ideas to protect businesses, but when it comes to home and family, it’s equally important to be ready so that those you love and what you’ve earned are protected. Here are 12 important steps that FEMA recommends to make sure you’re prepared should a disaster occur in your area.

  1. Make a plan. Talk as a family and make sure everyone understands what is expected of them should an emergency occur. In general, a good family disaster plan should help everyone know how they will find out that a disaster may have happened or will be coming; what the family will do if everyone is not together at the time; and how communication will be maintained. Each of the steps below should be part of this plan.
  2. Sign up for emergency alerts and warnings.
  3. Establish an emergency fund.
  4. Practice emergency drills. If your home must be vacated, where will you meet? How will you safely get out? This is particularly important when there are children who may become separated. How will you get to your children when they are at school and/or you are at work?
  5. Create and test a family communication plan. What do you do if cell service goes out? What if there is no internet service?
  6. Safeguard important documents and valuables.
  7. Plan with neighbors. Know who might need additional assistance in an evacuation or how to reach their extended family. Serve as each other’s safe spot if one home or the other must be vacated.
  8. Know what to do before, during or after an evacuation.
  9. Assemble or update a first aid kit with important items, including those specific to your family’s health needs.
  10. Fix household safety issues. This may avert some disasters from even happening or lessen the chances an emergency is compounded by additional risks.
  11. Get involved in your community. What resources are available during disasters? Are there volunteer groups you can join to help in an emergency?
  12. Document valuables and secure adequate insurance. Homeowner policies can differ. Do you know what might – or might not – be included in your coverage?

If you have any questions or need recommendations for additional resources when creating your own family disaster response plan, MJ can help. September may be National Preparedness Month, but this is an issue we must all address year-round. Disasters can happen. Let’s make sure you’re ready.