Are You Prepared to Evacuate in an Emergency?
From natural disasters to home emergencies, there may be a time when you need to evacuate your house. An emergency most likely won’t give you enough time to gather essentials and take steps to limit property damage. However, you can get organized for an emergency now so that, should the time come, you and your family are ready to evacuate with supplies in hand.
How to Get Ready
- Keep copies of important papers
It’s a good idea to keep copies of important documents on hand and stored digitally so that you can access them at any time. Keep the paper copies in a plastic and waterproof case. After an emergency, you may need to prove your identity, homeownership, and insurance documents to file a claim. Ensure you have these documents copied and scanned into the computer:
- Your driver’s license
- The deed to your house
- Proof of insurance
- Yours and your family’s medical records
- Social security cards
- A list of personal contacts and details
- Safeguard Pets
Don’t forget about your four-legged friends! Make sure your pets are micro-chipped and have visible and up-to-date I.D. collars. Create a pet grab-and-go kit that includes leashes, their medication, meal bowls, plenty of food and water, their bed, and their favorite toy.
- Prep Your Yard
Maintain your trees and shrubs, especially over the winter months. Cut back dead or diseased trees and shrubs so that they won’t fall down and damage your property. If windstorms are on the horizon, bring in all outdoor furniture and individual plant pots that may get picked up by the wind.
- Know How to Shut Off Utilities
Locate your gas, water, and electricity supplies. Contact your local provider to ensure that you know how to turn off these supplies, should you need to in the event of an emergency. Note that you may need a special wrench to turn off your gas supply.
- Protect Your Belongings
Before you evacuate, and you have enough time to safely do so, move valuables to higher levels in your home to prevent them from getting water damaged, should flooding occur. For better protection, wrap electronics and furniture in sheets, blankets, or plastic drop cloths.
- Stay Informed
Stay up-to-date with upcoming weather forecasts and weather warnings. Smartphone technology has made it easier to receive disaster alerts free of charge, too. Remember that although laws vary from area to area, if officials tell you to evacuate, it’s important that you do so immediately.