5 Tips for Disaster Preparedness You Could Really Use | Almanac.com

5 Tips for Disaster Preparedness You Could Really Use

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We’ve all seen extreme weather devastate communities. By the time severe weather hits, it’s already too late to act. Whether you’re faced with floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, or fires, the key to survival in disasters is planning. See our tips.

5 Tips for Disaster Preparedness*

Now is the time to make sure that you and your family are all on the same page. It doesn’t take long. Just find an hour or two one weekend—and do it!

  1. Evacuations during disaster are not uncommon. Do you know the escape routes from every room in your home? If you have children, sit down and draw a map to post near their door. If you evacuate, where will your family regroup first? Then where would you go? Know how to get to your nearest shelter or relatives’ home.
  2. What if the cell phone network is out? Have backup battery chargers for electronic devices to ensure that you can stay connected with loved ones if you experience a power outage. Everyone should know emergency phone numbers and have them in their phone. The Red Cross recommends that every family think of an out-of-town emergency contact, since it may be easier to make long-distance calls. If your family gets separated, everyone should check in with this out-of-area emergency contact.
  3. Sign up for those emergency alerts (or, don’t disable them if you already receive). They might be annoying, but this is an easy way to know about severe weather and other emergencies in your area.
  4. Have an emergency kit already assembled and somewhere accessible. At minimum, include basics such as canned goods, water, a flashlight, and basic first aid supplies. You don’t want to be looking all over for these items when a fire or storm hits. If you have a pet, include pet records and pet food. And be sure that your pet is microchipped in case you get separated!
  5. Consider investing in a standby generator to maintain your home’s power in the event of a weather-related or non-emergency power outage.

10 Tips to Prepare Your Home and Property for Winter

If you take good care of your house and property, you’ll be better prepared to weather any storm or disaster.

  1. Inspect your gutters and make sure that they are clean so that water can drain properly.
  2. Are bugs getting into your home? Perhaps you need to seal gaps and cracks around windows and doors to keep both bugs and the cold air out.
  3. Don’t forget to look up. Inspect your roof for any damage or leaky vents.
  4. How are your driveway, sidewalk, and steps holding up? Be sure to repair anything that needs attention.
  5. Trim any dead branches or trees that may be leaning over your home.
  6. After all of that spring and summer pollen, now is a good time to repair dirty filters.
  7. Clean your clothes dryer exhaust duct and the space behind the dryer and remove any lint or dust that may have accumulated.
  8. Hire a professional to check out your furnace, fireplace, and chimney.
  9. Insulate water pipes that may be prone to freezing temperatures.
  10. Now is also the time to test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

With a little planning, a little elbow grease, and the right equipment, your family’s preparedness will be in great shape.

*This is not a full list. For more information, visit ready.gov, redcross.org, or your local emergency preparedness site.

About The Author

Tim Goodwin

Tim Goodwin, the associate editor for The Old Farmer's Almanac, has been reading North America's oldest continuously published periodical since he was a young child, growing up just a short drive from the OFA office. Read More from Tim Goodwin