Preparing for a Home Emergency: 10 Things to Do Today!

No one is ever truly prepared for an emergency. However, there are a few things you can do starting today to prepare for any unfortunate event that happens without warning. From fires to snow storms, being prepared will make the situation less traumatic for both you and your family.

Stockpile:

Every family should have a stockpile that contains items that are non-perishable and can be consumed without cooking it first. The stockpile should also contain a good amount of toilet paper, paper towels, feminine hygiene products, diapers and wipes, and other personal care items considered a necessity. By purchasing a few extra items during your shopping trips and adding them to the stockpile, you will be better prepared for a home emergency that leaves you unable to get to the store – such as being snowed in during the winter.

Document Your Items:

Everything in your home – from furniture to dishes in the cabinets – should be documented. Include as much detail about each item, especially the serial numbers if the item has one. Keep this list stored both online by emailing it to yourself. By keeping the list within a virtual world, a fire would not be able to destroy the list since it is resting safely in your email inbox.

Create a Contact List:

Create a contact list of family, friends, doctors, credit card companies and other important people that you may need to contact in an emergency. Be sure to document their name, phone number, address and relation. Place a copy of this list in each vehicle’s glove compartment.

Create an Escape Plan:

Design an escape plan to be used during a fire. Determine where the exit points are for your house and go over the plan with your family. Practice this plan several times a year to ensure they remember what they are to do in case of a fire.

Supply Kits:

Create a supply kit for your vehicle. Include a blanket, gloves, water, Band-Aids, hand sanitizing gel, a contact list, flares, diapers and wipes. Store this kit in the trunk of your car.

Record Personal Information:

Take some time to write down your credit card numbers with the expiration dates and customer service phone number. Also, document your bank account numbers, social security numbers, driver license numbers and any other personal information that would be needed in an emergency. Keep a copy of this list in your wallet.

Purchase a Fireproof Safe:

A fireproof safe allows you to keep your personal belongings secure and can withstand the heat from a fire. Although these safes are not cheap, the security of knowing your personal belongings such as photographs and other valuables are safe makes it worth the purchase price.

Smoke Detectors:

Make sure that every level of your home has a smoke detector installed. Also, change the batteries of the smoke detectors twice a year.

Place Fire Extinguishers in the Home:

Just like the smoke detectors, each level of your home should be equipped with a fire extinguisher. There should also be an additional extinguisher in the kitchen that is certified for use on grease fires.

Digitally Store Photographs and Important Documents:

Take some time and digitally scan your photographs and important documents. Upload these photos online to either your personal email or to a free webhost for storage. By having your photographs online in a virtual form, you can easily reproduce them if the originals are destroyed.