No one wants to think a disaster will ever happen to them, but storms, fires, and other dangers can strike out of nowhere. To keep your family and your same safe, prepare early for potential disasters. Here’s what you need to know as a homeowner.
Identify Potential Hazards
Certain hazards are common to everyone, regardless of where you live or whether you own a home or not: fire, storm damage, flooding from a broken pipe. Other hazards are specific to where you live: hurricanes, earthquakes, flood risk (flooding can occur anywhere but some areas experience higher risk of flooding), ice, snow, and winter storms — to name a few.
Knowing those potential hazards will help you prepare. Having a fire extinguisher and knowing how to turn off the main water or gas line to your home are things you can do to minimize risks when accidents occur. Buying flood insurance or earthquake coverage and checking your homeowners insurance policy’s limits are other ways to prepare for potential disasters, as well.
Make a Plan
Once you know what hazards you could face in your home and as a family, it’s time to make a plan. Part of that is what we’ve already mentioned: fire extinguishers, shut off valves, and the right kind and amount of insurance coverage. Beyond that, there are a few other things to do to prepare for a disaster:
Keep an updated inventory of your home. You can do this with pictures, video, or a written list. Update it every year or anytime you make big purchases. This makes an insurance claim easier after a disaster because you can show what you’ve lost.
Know how to secure your home. Think about storm shutters for big storms. Inspect your roof, windows, and doors regularly to make sure they’re in good condition in case of a storm. Know where outdoor equipment and furniture can go when a storm heads your way. Anything to make your home more storm or disaster proof helps reduce potential damage.
Have an outside contact. Figure out who you can call outside of your local area when you get ready for a storm or just after a disaster. This could be a parent, sibling, or close family friend, but they’re the one who will know where you are and if you’re safe. They can also help spread the word to the rest of your family.
Know your evacuation options. If a big storm heads your way, will you stay in your home? Will local shelters be set up? Would you rather leave the area and stay with family or get a hotel room? Decide this before a disaster is on the way so you don’t lose time getting ready.
Put Together an Emergency Kit
An emergency kit should help you ride out any potential disasters that leave you without electricity or easy access to resources for a few days. You need enough supplies to survive without help for at least three days, as it can take that long for federal or charitable aid to become widely available. Put these items in your emergency kit:
- Multiple flashlights and batteries
- Solar-powered or hand-crank radios and other electronics
- Water — at least one gallon of water per family member per day
- Nonperishable food items and a can opener
- Plastic bags for storage
- Clothes, shoes, outerwear
- First aid supplies
- Supplies for pets including food, water, and medication
- Important documents like passports, insurance docs, etc.
Just before a known disaster reaches you, add a few items to your kit:
- Refills on prescriptions
- Top off gas in vehicles
- Gas for generators
Update Your Homeowners Insurance
Before disaster strikes, make sure your homeowners insurance policy will cover you, your family, and your home. Flood insurance isn’t included in a standard policy so that needs to be purchased separately and it takes 30 days to go into effect. Over time, your policy limit needs may change, especially as your family has grown and the value of your home may have changed.
As part of your disaster preparedness plan, contact Charlotte Insurance. We’ll go over your existing insurance coverage, offer solutions to increase your protection, and provide you with a free quote for a new policy. Contact us today!