Each September is designated as National Preparedness Month in the U.S., and this year’s theme centers on the fact that ‘Disasters don’t plan ahead. You can.’ And indeed you should! With this in mind, take a few minutes to read up on how best to plan and prepare for circumstances that we all hope don’t take place.
Start with these three things in mind. Sign up for alerts and warnings in your area. Check your insurance coverages. And make an emergency plan for higher probability disasters that may occur in your area.
Wireless Emergency Alerts
During an emergency, life-saving information is quickly sent through Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs). These are made available through the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) so public safety officials can quickly and effectively alert and warn the public about serious emergencies. WEAs are sent by state and local public safety officials, the National Weather Service, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the President of the United States. WEAs can be issued for three alert categories – imminent threat, AMBER, and Presidential – and are phone text messages designed to get your attention and alert you with a unique sound and vibration, both repeated twice. WEAs are not affected by network congestion and will not disrupt texts, calls, or data sessions in progress. They are your best source of information about pending emergencies.
Review Your Insurance Coverages
Your home, your business, and the many belongings that each contains are valuable assets. Studies show that more than half of all homeowners are underinsured should a catastrophic loss occur. Procrastinating is not the option you want to take when it comes to disaster planning, and the same applies to reviewing your coverages. Take time now to document your property, understand your current insurance coverages, amounts and deductibles, and be certain that you have appropriate coverages for relevant hazards.
Write a Multi-Step Plan That Makes Sense for You, Your Family, Your Business
Your disaster plan is not a one-size-fits-all document. Start with a list of potential emergency situations. Tailor your plans and the supplies you’ll need to your specific daily living needs and responsibilities. Discuss your needs and responsibilities with your family and consider how neighbors, friends, and coworkers can communicate and care for children, business, and pets, or meet specific needs like the operation of durable medical equipment. Create your own personal network for specific areas where you need assistance. Keep these factors in mind when developing your plan:
- Different ages of members within your household
- Responsibilities for assisting others
- Locations frequented
- Dietary needs
- Medical needs including prescriptions and equipment
- Disabilities or access and functional needs including devices and equipment
- Languages spoken
- Cultural and religious considerations
- Pets or service animals
- Households with school-aged children and elderly members should take extra steps detailed at this online link: Emergency Plan for Parents (PDF)
Doing the necessary prep work to have a sound emergency plan will take a bit of time and effort. Should future circumstances require you to enact it, you’ll be happy you made the effort ahead of time.