Whatever the Weather, Be Prepared

Whatever the Weather, Be Prepared

It’s hard to ignore the news this week surrounding Hurricane Florence – it’s filling our feeds and depleting store shelves of bottled water, batteries, and other survival essentials. Our neighbors along the coast are in the midst of evacuating, and while the models continue to change, forecasters predict that we will be impacted by heavy rainfall here in the Upstate.

These headlines emphasize the importance of safety and preparedness. Disasters can strike anytime and anywhere.

Here are some basic steps you can take to ready yourself, your family, and your home for emergencies.

Make an emergency kit.
Whether staying in your home or evacuating, it is important to keep some essential supplies on hand that can be useful in a variety of situations.

Here are some items to consider adding to your kit:

–    Water – At least one gallon per person per day, according to the experts

–    Non-perishable food – Enough to feed your family for at least three days

–    Pet food and supplies – Pack enough food for your furry friends, too, and any medical supplies they require

–    Manual can-opener – You’ll likely need this to open your non-perishable food

–    Flashlights and batteries – In a power outage, you’ll need these to see at night

–    First aid kit – Always a must, in case someone gets injured

–    Battery-powered or hand crank radio – Stay in the know with weather alerts

–    Cell phones with chargers and power banks – Very important for staying in touch with loved ones and also keeping up with the news, reporting power outages, etc.

–    Copies of important paperwork in a waterproof case – Include licenses, passports, social security cards, proof of insurance, a list of personal contacts, and the deed to your house. Also, consider keeping a digital copy on Dropbox or a memory stick while you’re at it.

–    Hand sanitizer, wet wipes and garbage bags – Ward off bacteria and stay sanitary

–    Extra clothing – Keep it lightweight, comfortable and practical with a sturdy pair of shoes

–    Extra cash – You never know when you’ll need to pay for something in cash

Once you’ve completed your kit, add a yearly reminder to your calendar to check for expired foods and update your records.

Prep your home.
Make sure you’re maintaining your trees and shrubs so weak branches aren’t susceptible to falling and damaging your property. Know how to safely shut off your utilities, and if you can, unplug appliances and electronics to prevent damage in case if electricity surges. If you have pets, make sure they are microchipped and have ID collars.

If you live in a flood-prone area, keep sandbag materials on hand and consider purchasing flood insurance. While your homeowner’s insurance policy will cover damage to your home from things like wind and hail, you’ll want to consider purchasing a separate flood policy to cover rising water. However, be aware that unless you are closing on a home, there will be a 30-day waiting period to add this insurance to your coverage. Contact Caine Hayes Insurance for more information.

Have a plan.
Discuss an emergency plan with your family members so everyone knows what to do if there’s a crisis. Think about the types of emergencies you’re most likely to face, identify meeting places (both in and outside of your neighborhood) in case you get separated, and decide where you’ll go if you need to evacuate.

While it is unpleasant and sometimes scary to think about, making sure you’re prepared 365 days of the year is the best way to avoid panic and protect yourself and your home against unfortunate circumstances.