With Labor Day weekend's weather being so incredibly beautiful here in Illinois, it made it hard to imagine that New Orleans's residents were once again evacuating their homes, this time in anticipation of Hurricane Gustav. The following week had us marking the seventh anniversary of September 11th, followed up by last weekend's devastation caused by Hurricane Ike.
Yet for some reason, we still find it is so easy to believe that a disaster could never happen in our own backyard. As a way to educate and encourage us to better prepare ourselves for a disaster, natural or otherwise, the United States Department of Homeland Security has deemed September "National Preparedness Month".
This edition of our newsletter is dedicated to helping get you organized for these types of emergencies. It is my hope that once you've taken the steps we've outlined, you'll feel prepared, and can get back to the business of enjoying each day.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Ready Campaign, says there are 3 important steps we should take to prepare for and respond to potential emergencies, including natural disasters and terrorist attacks:
- Put together an emergency supply kit
- Create a family emergency plan
- Be informed
The Ready Campaign recommends that we stock three days worth of provisions for our family which should include the following:
- One gallon of water per person (and pets) per day, for three days
- At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food and a manual can opener. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water like ready-to-eat canned meats, peanut butter, protein or fruit bars, dry cereal or granola.
- Transistor radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both.
- One flashlight per person and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Local maps
Additional items that you may want to add include:
- Prescription medications and glasses
- Infant formula and diapers
- Pet food, extra water for your pet, leash and collar
- Important family documents
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
- Cash or traveler's checks and change
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person.
- Complete change of clothes
For a complete list of items visit ready.gov to download a free emergency supply checklist or call 1-800-BE-READY.
Family Emergency Plan
Go to the www.ready.gov website and print off their free family emergency plan template. Fill it out and communicate it to each family member. This plan will ensure that your family know where to meet or how to stay in contact if they are separated during an emergency. It also includes wallet size cards to fill out and give to each family member to keep in their purse, wallet or backpack etc., with this information for quick reference. Be sure each family member has a copy of your communication plan and post it near your telephone for use in an emergency.
- Purchase a NOAA tone activated weather radio. Weather radios receive broadcasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Purchase a weather radio with Specific Alert Message Encoding (SAME) technology so that you can set the radio for your county and learn the status of the disaster, evacuation information and alerts for your area. This minimizes the number of "false alarms" for events that may be a few counties away from where you live. Weather radios can be purchased at electronics, sporting goods, hardware stores, and online retailers.
- Get a transistor radio with batteries to stay informed of local conditions, school closings, travel hazards and local shelters.
- Make sure that you have a landline telephone.
We all have things that we mean to accomplish but never get around to doing. Without being overly dramatic, I urge you to make sure that the items we've outlined in this newsletter do not fall into that category as they are just too important. As you know, the best way to ensure that a project or task is achieved is to schedule it.
Please go to your calendar and designate a time to assemble your emergency kit; determine, communicate and fill out your emergency plan; and obtain the items you need to stay informed in the event of an emergency.
If you would like us to come to your home to help you with any of these tasks, please contact us at (847)266-9166 or at [email protected].
Keeping Your Important Documents Safe
Vital family records and other important documents like birth and marriage certificates, social security cards, passports, wills, deeds, and financial, insurance, and immunization records should be kept in a safety deposit box or other safe/fireproof location.
It's also a good idea to have extra copies of important family documents such as insurance policies, identification and bank account records along with a copy of both sides of your credit cards, insurance cards and license in a waterproof, portable container in your Emergency Kit.
Creating A Home Inventory
While being a proponent of the "Hope for the Best but Prepare for the Worst" mindset, I strongly encourage you to prepare a home inventory. It is always a good idea to have a record of your possessions. This way, you won't have to rely on your memory when claiming reimbursement in the event of a fire, flood, burglary, etc. and claims can be processed much faster in the event of a loss.
Your home inventory should include:
Pictures or a video of the outside and inside of your home.
Appraisals of jewelry, collectibles, artwork and other items that may be hard to
Copies of receipts for valuable or big ticket items.
A list of each item along with the manufacturer or brand, serial number, model
number and price paid or appraised value for each item.
To record your inventory you can simply take pen to paper or you can use a worksheet like the ones at www.realsimple.com (searching for "home inventory" will get you to the worksheets), or google "home inventory" to learn about companies that maintain your information online in a secure way.
Of course, you'll want to be make sure to update your home inventory at least once a year and maintain it in a safe place such as a fireproof file cabinet or in your bank safety deposit box. Please let us know if you'd like to schedule an appointment to help you assemble your home inventory.
|Contact Us at 847.266.9166 [email protected]
or visit us at www.altogetherorganized.org