Well we are in the thick of Hurricane season and Isaac is threatening Florida. I have friends and relatives who are preparing ‘por si acaso’/ just in case the storm hits. Whether Isaac will remain a tropical storm, or gets worse and hit land, or simply lose strength nobody seems to know yet. What is certain is that there will always be natural disasters to contend with, whether it is hurricanes or earthquakes, wildfires or tornadoes. Depending on where you live, you may one day have to face an evacuation. Are you properly prepared?
Advanced planning is key to surviving a disaster and keeping your family safe. If you ever have to evacuate you should already know where to go and what to take with you. And if you have pets, or are responsible for an elderly or handicapped person who needs extra care, you should look into all the available evacuation options before disaster strikes.
In short, before disaster strikes you should have a viable plan you can implement …just in case.
If you are not a techie fan and don’t know the different between an app and an apple, you can make your own arrangements by following the I.I.I.’s five-step plan.
1. Arrange Your Evacuation Ahead of Time
Identify where you can go in the event of an evacuation. Try to have more than one option: the home of a friend or family member in another town, a hotel or a shelter. Keep the phone numbers and addresses of these locations handy.
Remember that you may not have to travel far in an evacuation as your county may have locales and shelters close to home that would keep you safe from a storm.
If you have a pet, make a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians outside your area that might be able to shelter pets in an emergency.
Map out your primary route and a backup route in case roads are blocked or impassable. Make sure you have a map of the area available.
If your family members are separated before or during the evacuation, identify a specific place to meet and ask an out-of-town friend or family member to act as a contact person.
Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio or TV stations for evacuation instructions. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
2. Create a Home Inventory
A home inventory is a detailed list of all your personal possessions with their estimated value. An up-to- date home inventory will:
Speed up the claims process in case a disaster damages your possesions.
Substantiate losses for income tax purposes.
Help you apply for disaster aid.
Help you purchase enough insurance to replace your personal possessions.
To make creating a home inventory easier, our friends at the I.I.I. offers free Web-based software at www.KnowYourStuff.org.Know Your Stuff allows you to list your possessions, as well as add digital photographs of your valuables and upload scanned receipts. The program provides free, secure storage of your inventory. It is also available as an app for IPhone and Android. Storing your inventory online gives you the ability to access it remotely from a computer or smartphone–even if the computer in your home is damaged or destroyed.
3. Plan What to Take
Make sure you know what you would need if you had to be out of your home for a few days or longer. This would include:
Medicine, prescriptions and first aid kit
Clothing and bedding (sleeping bags, pillows)
Flashlight, battery-powered radio and extra batteries
Special items for infants or elderly or disabled family members
Computer hard drive or laptop
Pet food and other items for pets (litter boxes, leashes)
4. Gather Important Documents
Store important documents in a safety deposit box or other secure location and keep copies at home in a place you can easily access. If you need to evacuate, you may want to take the following with you:
Drivers license or personal identification
Important contact information
5. Take the Ten-Minute Challenge
To find out if you are ready, do a real-time test. Give yourself just 10 minutes to get your family and belongings into the car and on the road to safety. By planning ahead and practicing, you should be able to gather your family members and pets, along with the most important items they will need, calmly and efficiently, with a minimum of stress and confusion. The I.I.I. has a fun, education video on how to take the 10 minute challenge.