Better Business Bureau Offers Storm Preparedness Tips

As We Focus on National Hurricane Preparedness Week

BBB urges all consumers to be prepared for a weather emergency or disaster. Creating a disaster plan for what to do before, during and after an emergency may make a big difference to your safety and comfort.

Emergency preparedness is not just the concern of people in certain areas.  All communities may be affected by several types of catastrophes during a lifetime. Therefore, knowing what to do before, during and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count.

Some of the basic protective actions are similar for multiple disasters. For example, safety is necessary when experiencing all hazards. Depending on the specific emergency, this could include plans for sheltering or evacuating. Developing a family communication plan or making an emergency supply kit are the same for most emergencies, natural disasters and terrorism. However, there are important differences among potential emergencies that should influence the decisions you make and the actions you take.

Your BBB recommends you take some of the basic preparedness steps to help you plan for a natural disaster, which can help ease the stress and anxiety caused if your home is damaged by storms:

  • Know what you have.  Create and maintain an inventory of your personal possessions. Use a camera to take pictures or video of both the interior and exterior of your home as well as your property, including items stored on your property such as vehicles or lawn/farm equipment.
  • Keep important information safe. Maintain receipts for all major items. All important information and documentation should be saved in a safe place outside your home, such as in a safe deposit box at your bank or utilize an online cloud storage service to store files or data objects.
  • Make sure you’re insured! Keep all of your insurance policies organized and in an easily accessible spot. Review your coverage each year to make sure it is adequate should you have storm damage to your home, vehicle or property.
    • Discuss with your insurance agent what liabilities you might have, if any, should any of your personal items or trees cause damage to neighboring homes or properties during a storm.
    • Be sure to note deadlines for filing claims.
    • Make sure you carry your policy numbers and contact information for your insurance company with you at all times.
  • Have the essentials ready.  Create a basic emergency kit using this essentials checklist recommended by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in case of a disaster.

Emergency Supply Kit

You may need to shelter in place (stay at home) during an emergency, such as a severe storm.  Keep enough supplies in your home to survive for at least three days.

•    One gallon of drinking water per person per day
•    Nonperishable, ready-to-eat canned foods and manual can opener
•    First aid kit
•    Flashlight
•    Battery-operated AM/FM radio
•    Extra batteries
•    Whistle
•    Iodine tablets or one quart of unscented bleach (for disinfecting water ONLY if directed to do so by health officials) and eyedropper (for adding bleach to water)
•    Phone that does not rely on electricity

Evacuation “Go Bag”

Other emergencies may require evacuation from your home.  BBB suggests having a Go Bag ready for every household member in an easy-to-carry container such as a backpack.

Your Go Bags should include:
•    Copies of your important documents in a waterproof and portable container (insurance cards, photo IDs, proof of address, etc.)
•    Extra set of car and house keys
•    Copies of credit/ATM cards and $50-$100 in cash in small denominations.
•    Bottled water and nonperishable food such as energy or granola bars
•    Flashlight
•    Battery-operated AM/FM radio
•    Extra batteries
•    Medications
•    Doctors’ names and phone numbers
•    First aid kit
•    Contact and meeting place information for your household and a small local map
•    Child care, pet care, and other special items
•    Blankets and pillows

BBB recommends using FEMA’s website  to learn about the potential emergencies that could occur where you live and the appropriate ways to respond to them. When you know what to do, you can plan and prepare in advance to be ready. The FEMA website provides information about how to protect your household and begin recovery following the initial disaster.

Familiarize yourself with the signs of events that come without warning.  Know the local advance alerts and warnings and how you will receive them. Knowing about the local emergency plans for shelter and evacuation, local emergency contacts, the locations frequented by members of your household and the specific needs of household members including animals will help you reduce the impact of disasters. It may also save lives and prevent injuries during a crisis.

Natural disasters like tornados, hurricanes, floods, fires and earthquakes can bring out the best in people, as strangers reach out to help others in need. Unfortunately, crisis also brings out persons who choose to take advantage of the victims.

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Courtesy: BBB

Categories: Alabama News, Georgia News