Disasters can strike at any time. While we can’t always determine when or where an emergency will take place, we can be as prepared as possible. According to FEMA, almost 60% of Americans have not practiced what to do in a disaster, and less than 40% have an actual emergency plan.
A home emergency plan can help you and your family members stay safe, as well as minimize panic and chaos.
To help you get started, here are our top tips for creating a home emergency plan.
1. Consider your unique needs.
Reflect on the types of natural disasters that are most likely to occur in your area. For example, Maine and New Hampshire’s most common natural disasters include severe storms, floods, winter storms, hurricanes, landslides, power outages, and droughts.
In addition, determine if you need to make special accommodations for certain family members, such as senior citizens, family members with disabilities, infants and young children.
2. Create an Emergency Evacuation Kit/Go-Bag
An emergency evacuation kit, also known as a go-bag, is a great way to have everything you need in one place so you can quickly evacuate. Ideally, your kit should fit into a backpack, and should contain items that will help you survive on your own for at least 72 hours. Once a year, review what’s in your emergency kit and replace any expired items. To see a comprehensive list of what to put into a go-bag, click here.
3. Know where to go.
Every emergency is different, so your safe space will vary by the situation. Choose a safe place in your home where you will likely take shelter in the event of some of the disasters listed above. Second, decide on a family meeting spot right outside your home in case of a fire or other sudden emergency. Third, determine where you would go if you were asked to evacuate or could not return home, and plan the route you would take to get there.
4. Stay connected.
Create a family communication plan. The plan should include information on how you will receive local emergency alerts (radio, TV, text, etc.), as well as information on how to keep in contact with each other.
Make sure all family members have emergency phone numbers saved in their cell phone and written on a contact card. Include numbers for each family member, the police station, a nearby hospital and an out-of-area emergency contact.
It may be easier to reach someone out of town if there is an emergency affecting your neighborhood, so it is wise to designate an out-of-area contact. Instruct all family members to keep in touch with this emergency contact to let them know that they are safe.
In addition, if there is a disaster in your area, you can register with the American Red Cross so your loved ones know that you’re okay.
5. Protect your pets.
When planning for an emergency, don’t forget about your pets! Create a list of pet-friendly hotels and animal shelters along your evacuation route. Also, remember to include items for your pet in your disaster kit.
6. Write it down and practice.
Make sure you get your emergency plan down on paper with detailed instructions for each situation. How you react to a tornado will be very different from how you react to an evacuation, so you must have a plan for each one. There are several online resources and forms that may be helpful in creating your plan. If you are able, do a practice-run of some of your plans. Small children may find this especially helpful should an actual disaster strike in the future.
7. Review your insurance.
You knew we were going to say this, right? Before a disaster strikes, it is smart to review your insurance policy with your agent to make sure you have the right coverage for risks in your area. For instance, a standard home policy typically doesn’t include protections like flood insurance or earthquake coverage. You should also make sure you know how to file a claim, if necessary, whether through your carrier or through Chalmers.
While you may not know when a disaster will strike, with a home emergency plan, you can rest easy and know that your family is prepared for whatever comes your way. For any questions or to review your coverage, call 1-800-360-3000 today!
This article is for informational and suggestion purposes only. Implementing these suggestions does not guarantee coverage. If any policy coverage descriptions in this article conflict with the language in the policy, the language in the policy applies.