by Pat McHugh
Developing a disaster plan for your home requires a lot of thought, but it's simple to get started. Here are 10 considerations you can plan for right now.
Learn about the natural disasters that could occur in your community from your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter. Earthquakes, tornados, floods, hurricanes or severe winter storms all pose a potential personal survival situation.
Discuss openly and honestly with your family members about the potential emergencies and how you as a group are going to respond to each. Talk about what you would need to do in an evacuation.
Plan how members of your immediate family will stay in contact if you are separated. Identify two meeting places: the first should be near your home if realistic, and the second place be away from your neighborhood in case you cannot return home.
Pick a friend or relative who lives out of the area for household members to call to say they are okay. Pick a safe place to meet if you are separated.
Make sure everyone in your household knows how and when to shut off water, gas, and electricity at the main switches. Consult with your local utilities if you have questions.
Reduce the economic impact that could be caused by any natural disaster on your property and your household's health and financial well-being. Review property insurance policies before disaster strikes-make sure policies are current and be certain they meet your needs (type of coverage, amount of coverage, and hazard covered-flood, earthquake).
It is advisable to keep a small amount of cash or traveler's checks at home in a safe place where you can quickly gain access to it in case.
Consider ways to help neighbors who may need special assistance, such as the elderly or the disabled.
Make arrangements for pets. Pets are not allowed in public shelters. Service animals for those who depend on them are allowed.
10. Special Needs
Do emergency planning for people with special needs. If you, or a member of your family have a disability or special need, you may have to take additional steps to protect yourself and your household in an emergency. If you know of friends or neighbors with special needs, help them with these extra precautions.
Next Step: Create a Bug-Out Bag
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