Emergencies come in all shapes in sizes. Severe weather could damage your property, causing a flood or loss of electricity. There could be a burst pipe or a grease fire — even insect or rodent infestations can constitute a home disaster. The key to successfully handling any crisis is to have a plan in place.
Keep reading to learn eight steps to take to prepare for a home emergency.
1. Make a First-Aid Kit
A well-stocked first-aid kit can prepare you for emergencies at home. It’ll also give you peace of mind if a babysitter is watching your children. To build a comprehensive kit, you should include more than bandaids and antibiotic ointment. Consider what medical situations commonly arise at your house.
For instance, does anyone have allergies or difficulty breathing? If so, you might want to include an epi-pen, medicine and an inhaler. Tools like tweezers and a thermometer will help to prepare you for unexpected splinters or sudden fevers. The goal is to create a complete kit without it being awkward or unmanageable.
Remember to check expiration dates and update the pack as needed. You’ll want to replenish the supplies regularly so you always have ample amounts available.
2. Stock-Up on Non-Perishable Foods
If the power goes out, food will begin to spoil after four hours in your refrigerator and 24 to 48 hours in your freezer. You’ll want to have a stock of non-perishable items you can rely on to keep you and your family fed. Likewise, you should keep a supply of clean drinking water in case your water lines become compromised.
Evaluate how many people are in your household. You should plan to have enough food to sustain each member for a few days to a week.
3. Purchase a Generator
A generator converts mechanical energy into electrical power. You can use a generator to power your house during an outage. This will give you time to charge your devices, call for help and survive even if the power is out in the rest of the city. Consider stocking up on whatever fuel source powers the generator so you can use it for several days if needed.
When using a generator, make sure it is adequately maintained to keep it running smoothly. Read the user’s manual to determine how frequently you should clean it. Remember to only operate it outside of your residence to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
4. Get Homeowners Insurance
If you experience an emergency, such as a flood, you’ll want to be protected. Having home insurance will offer you security by ensuring you have coverage for your house. Simply document any damage that occurs and submit a claim to your insurance company. Remember to take photos before cleaning up or beginning repairs.
5. Check Your Sump-Pump
A sump pump is a machine used to remove water. It is crucial to have if your property ever floods, as you can use it to pump the water from your house. Consider investing if you don’t already own it. If you’ve purchased it, remember to maintain the device according to the care instructions and check that it works before any major storm.
6. Build An Emergency Supply Bag
Use your emergency supply bag to gather necessary materials into one place. By storing crucial supplies in airtight plastic bags and placing them inside a duffel bag, you ensure that your disaster preparation is portable.
Your bag should contain enough supplies to allow you to function in a crisis. It should hold your first-aid kit, along with supplies like cash, important documents and outdoor gear.
Consider what items you might bring if you went camping and pack them inside the bag. Examples include:
- Food and water
- Hand sanitizer
7. Create an Action Plan
An action plan provides a detailed outline of the steps needed to reach a desired outcome. In an emergency, an action plan would describe what to do if anyone in the family became separated. It might describe meeting locations or phone numbers to call. Confusion and chaos can drastically affect any situation. Having this type of plan in place reduces confusion and provides a sense of focus during uncertain times.
Consider practicing the plan with your family to ensure each member feels confident.
8. Prepare Your Home
If you anticipate severe weather or another type of home crisis, you should begin preparing your residence. Start outdoors by boarding up windows, bringing loose furniture inside and driving your car into the garage. Make sure the doors are locked to reduce the chances of a break-in. Depending on the situation, you may choose to adjust the thermostat or turn off the water. Unplug appliances and electronics that are not in use, and turn off lights to conserve energy.
If earthquakes are common where you live, you may choose to remove breakables from the shelves and take pictures off the walls. If you intend to stay inside your house, check that your emergency supplies are available and that each family member is indoors before locking things up.
Follow Emergency Guidelines
These are eight practical steps to prepare for a home emergency. Begin implementing them today so you are ready when unexpected situations arise. Ultimately, regardless of the crisis, listen to government instructions to stay safe. There may be rescue teams organizing to evacuate your city, so it is important to follow emergency guidelines. Use a battery-operated radio to ensure you can hear the latest updates.