Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It's National Preparedness Day. Are You Ready?

Today is National Preparedness Day. Are you ready? According to FEMA, while the long-standing Boy Scout motto, "Be Prepared," sounds pretty straightforward, people often think "that won't happen here" and as a result are caught unprepared when disaster strikes. FEMA offers these five tips to remind us that even some simple steps can keep us from overwhelmed during an emergency.
  1. Take small steps toward building your emergency supply kit. Buy some extra bottles of water and non-perishable food on your next trip to the grocery store. When you buy replacement batteries for the remote control, set aside a few extras along with a flashlight. "Small purchases such as these will eventually help you create a robust emergency supply kit that could be vital to survive on your own after an emergency," FEMA says. To get an idea of the supplies you might need, check out’s recommended supply list. 
  2. Get connected with friends and family. In the face of emergency, people are often at a loss about how to connect with family. Use’s Family Communications Plan to start collecting and sharing the important information your family may need. "Make sure everyone knows where to go and who to contact so you never have to worry about your family’s safety after a disaster," FEMA advises.
  3. Make your smartphone a lifesaving tool. It's true. Smartphones can be used for more than Angry Birds and Facebook. FEMA’s app can can alert you to impending severe weather and provide customized information to help you prepare for potential disasters.  
  4. Know your zone. Do you know whether your home is located in a high- or low- to moderate-flood risk area? If not, FEMA’s FloodSmart page has a risk profile tool to help you find out. Learn about all of the disaster risks unique to your community—and any location you may visit or spend time—so you’re not caught unaware if something were to occur. Visit America’s PrepareAthon! page and get educated about the specific hazards in any area you choose. 
  5. Act. Once you know the type of disasters most common to your community, take steps to reduce your risk. For example, talk to your insurance agent and verify you’re fully covered. Store important papers in a safe place. Elevate mechanicals off the floor of the basement to avoid potential flood damage. Learn about other risk reduction techniques on FEMA’s Protecting Homes webpage