William Raveis Real Estate and Home Services

Posted by Deborah Schilling on 2/9/2017

Earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires and floods do not occur where you live every day. Yet, these natural disasters do happen, often catching homeowners and their family members by surprise. Storing the right tools and resources at your home that you may need should natural disasters strike could impact your ability to survive these events. Knowing what to do during an emergency can also reduce the amount of exposure that you and your family have to dangerous elements like smoke, rushing water and unstable foundations. Details Are Essential When Dealing With Natural Disasters As a homeowner, one of the first things that you’ll want to do is to take pictures of your home. Walk through each room of your house, taking pictures of the furniture, walls, flooring and other valuable items like jewelry, computers and wide screen televisions. These pictures can help your case when you file an insurance claim. Regarding insurance claims, at least once a year, review your insurance coverage packages. Look over your homeowners insurance and auto, health and life insurance policies. If you recently had a child, have you added your child to applicable insurance policies? Do the limits on your homeowners insurance cover the costs of your entire house and all goods inside your home? Keep critical documents like mortgage papers, insurance policies, retirement packages, wills and birth certificates at home inside safe deposit boxes or fire retardant safes. You could even keep a copy of critical documents in a post office box or a bank safe deposit box. For easy retrieval, consider adding names and telephone numbers of insurance representatives in your cell phone contact lists. Identify emergency exits at your home. Educate your entire family on the emergency exits and when they should be used. For example, you might use your front and back doors as emergency exits in the event of a fire and your attic window as an emergency exit in the event of a flood. Make sure that you have a ladder in the attic, so your relatives can escape. If one emergency exit is blocked during natural disasters, have a second (and potentially a third) emergency exit established. Practice evacuating your home. Try to simulate an actual emergency when you practice evacuating your home with your family. Incorporate Relatives In Your Home Natural Disasters Plan Let two to three relatives who do not live at your house know about your emergency plan. Make sure that these relatives have your current email addresses and telephone numbers, including numbers to land line and cell phone devices. Consider giving your email addresses and telephone numbers to a neighbor that you trust. Stock non-perishable foods like canned goods and bottled water at your house and in your vehicles. Replace these items to ensure that they remain fresh. Other items to stock at home and in your vehicles include prescriptions, vitamins, a first aid kit, a can opener, matches, an extra pair of clothes, two or more flashlights, batteries, a battery operated radio, towels and blankets. Replace batteries so that they stay ready to power up equipment. Keep matches in a concealed container to avoid getting the matches wet. During earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes, stay clear of windows and objects that could easily break or be lifted into the air. At the onset of any emergency, call 911 and provide your street address and details about the event, how many people are at your house and the condition of occupants. Listen to weather reports and start preparing to respond to natural disasters early. To avoid getting trapped should objects move during disasters, clear walkways inside and outside your home. Keep two or more people aware of your whereabouts.

Deborah Schilling