Don’t be caught off guard! Do these 10 disaster prep tips and you will be ready no matter what natural disaster happens to your house.
Disasters strike without warning, and usually, it is hard to predict their timing. At best, the office of emergency management and local weather reports give a very short warning time. That is why every household must have plans for disaster response and recovery.
Disaster Prep Tips – What You Need To Do
There are ten ways you can help your family get ready for an uncontrollable natural occurrence.
1. Backup Power Plans:
The safest plan of action is to disconnect all electronics and appliances from the main source during a power outage. That way, the systems are protected from potential power surges when the electricity returns.
Stock up on candles, flashlights, and batteries because they will work during a disaster. But, a backup generator from a credible supplier like alltimepower is a must-have equipment for complete emergency preparedness. Every home needs a home generator, whether for short or longer unexpected outages.
Use a portable generator only when necessary and for powering essential systems. Furthermore, the machine must be situated in a well-ventilated area and away from structures. Having a generator can make a big difference to home safety and comfort for short-term blackouts lasting a few hours. A small model offers enough power to keep the refrigerator, lights, TV, and other essential systems operating.
2. Shut Off the Gas Supply:
One of the biggest causes of fire after a natural calamity is gas leaks in homes. For this matter, all household members must know how to turn off the natural gas supply and exercise fire safety measures. Besides, nobody should use an oven or gas stove to heat the house, even during an emergency.
Different gas meters require different procedures to shut off as stipulated by the supplier. Call the gas company if you are unsure of the right steps in the event of a tragedy. Never turn it off if it’s the first time to practice the procedure. In case of a hissing noise or a strange sulfur smell, call for help immediately or close the main valve located outside if possible. Only a qualified professional can turn it on, so do not try it yourself.
3. Close the Main Water Valve:
Water is a treasure during any unfortunate event. Every household member should know how to locate the shut-off valve to the home’s water supply. The main water line has a shut-off valve that is normally tagged for proper identification.
Be sure to close it completely. Due to rust, some water valves do not shut off all the way, and they need replacement. Check it regularly to avoid a last-minute maintenance rush when floods are impending. Cracked lines cause major pollution to the household water supply, so it is advisable to discontinue normal use until the local authorities confirm that the water is safe.
Gravitational pull can drain water from the toilet tanks and water heaters. The only way to trap water at home is by closing the main valve. Forget the street valve located at the cemented box in the front yard, as it requires special tools and expertise to turn off.
4. Emergency Kits:
Every home needs an emergency preparedness kit for quick response to disasters and recovery. More importantly, everyone should know how to locate and operate safety equipment. When preparing for a fire outbreak, fire extinguishers must be placed in strategic locations like the kitchen.
Another indispensable tool is a first aid kit. Health emergency gadgets require a big waterproof container for storage. They have to be placed near the garage or doors where someone can grab them easily while seeking shelter. The government recommends stocking up to three days’ worth of water, foodstuffs, and medicine.
The following items must not be missing in a disaster preparedness kit:
- Non-perishable foods
- Drinking water
- First-aid supplies
- Local maps
- Manual can opener
- Blankets and dry clothes
- Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses
- Sanitation (toiletries, soaps, disinfectants, and trash bags)
- Flashlights, batteries, and portable lamps
- Battery-powered radio
5. Check Smoke Detectors:
Since fire hazards are very common during emergencies, the smoke detectors must be in good working conditions all the time. Ensure that smoke detectors are properly installed. If hardwired, have battery backup and change the batteries when changing the daylight savings time on your clock.
Replace the detectors if they have been in use for over eight years since the sensors spoil overtime. Smoke alarms have low maintenance requirements, so there’s no excuse for not keeping them in good shape. Check them once per month and replace batteries one or two times a year.
Always review the user manual, as you might need to maintain it more often. Also, vacuum and dust the area surrounding the alarm to clear dirt and insects that could hamper the system’s efficiency.
6. Put Alert Systems in Place:
Reading dailies and news helps keep abreast with storms and hurricanes on the horizon, though they do not cover immediate neighborhoods. To better prepare for an emergency, set up home security systems to warn you about approaching adversity.
The best alert mechanisms include fire alarms, monitored detection systems, and burglar alerts to prompt you of break-ins. Casualties of such an event as an earthquake are not just because of the earthquake itself but a secondary impact like a fire accident.
Detecting the occurrence of collateral dangers and collecting information in real-time is key to saving lives. Consider creating an effective plan for propagating fire outbreaks by connecting a smart device to home fire alarms. This helps to estimate the fire origin and get an overview of the circumstances surrounding it.
7. Memorize the Disaster Plan:
All family members should know how to escape the house fast if the unexpected happens. It is good to plan a safe shelter nearby, like a neighbors’ porch or a tree across the street. Creating is one thing, while practicing is another. This plan must, therefore, be outlined clearly to keep everyone safe during evacuation.
Elements of a good escape plan include:
- Emergency alerts and warnings
- Evacuation route
- Family communication
- Review of escape routes
It would help to choose two locations for a shelter-in-place with one far away from the city. A list of emergency contacts should be kept safe and be readily available. Many times, escape routes are blocked amidst a huge calamity. As such, it is good to have alternative ways where possible.
8. Manage Insurance Policies:
If you live in a risky place, it is wise to have a flood insurance policy or have your home covered for earthquake damage. Note down the insurance policy numbers and keep them in a safe place. You’ll also need the number for your car and other assets that might get damaged. It helps to have the insurance provider’s phone number on hand as you might be required to start the claim process immediately.
In readiness to file an insurance claim, download the company’s app if they have one. Such a program becomes convenient and allows you to pay bills with a few swipes on a smartphone. Keeping the insurance details on your phones and computers is a good thing but remember that the electronics will run out of battery soon. That is why you still need the hard copies close by.
9. Know Your Medical Needs:
Some medical devices are powered by electricity, while liquid drugs are stored in the fridge. When disaster strikes, inform your doctor about the power outage, if possible, so they can give out a proper plan on treatment.
You need to know how long the drugs would remain effective at room temperature. Some medications that are critical for life might also have specific administration guidelines during stressful moments.
10. Know Some Coping Mechanism:
It is normal to feel stressed after witnessing a traumatic scenario like drought, flooding, or fire. Without the right level of support and pastime activities, the anxiety may spur depression. A few fun activities would help in days following a catastrophic event.
Books and games are some of the best ways to stay busy in a boring period of a power outage. Technology is not the only way to have a good time with loved ones. Even reading or playing card and board games are good ways to stay engaged as a family. Panic is a default state in an emergency.
Always know that you’ve got this. Try to calm down and help everyone else around to think clearly and get through the trouble safely. Learning a few coping mechanisms like taking deep breaths goes a long way.
Keep asking what to do at the moment to make the situation better. When the weather reports start declaring an impending tornado, the best action is to prepare for the unknown. It is devastating when the entire family is caught off guard with no water, power, and lack of cellular connectivity.
No one can tell how long an emergency will last, so it’s imperative to get ready for all potential impacts when the power goes off.
As stated above, home generators, emergency kits, and essential belongings come in handy in such situations. Have them all the time, and create a plan with the family so everyone knows their role when an emergency situation arises.