June and July are peak months for severe weather. Warm temperatures often bring strong winds, heavy rain and the potential for tornados. Having an emergency plan will prepare your family before the weather arrives. Here’s eight tips to help you be ready if disaster strikes:
- Have an evacuation plan: In some cases of extreme weather, officials may order an evacuation or you may need to leave quickly. Having a plan will ensure everyone in your family knows where to go and how to leave the house. It can include stockpiling of supplies – such as water and gasoline – and packing identification, medications, non-perishable foods and money.
- Plan for pets:Make sure everyone knows the plan for family pets. Decide who will be responsible for them in case of severe weather. Knowing this ahead of time helps relieve stress and eliminates the need to make decisions during an emergency.
- Decide on a safe room: Often, the safest place in a home during an emergency is located on the lowest level without windows. This is often the basement, cellar or closet. Make sure everyone knows what it is. It’s also helpful to discuss shelter away from the house in case a family member is separated and can’t get home.
- Have a working generator:Generators - once considered a luxury - are now an important tool in the event of a power outage since your heat/air conditioning, communication devices and applicances are often electricity-dependant. Knowing you have a generator helps alleviate stress during a storm.
- Pack an emergency bag:After you’ve picked a safe room, place an emergency bag in or around it. Pre-made kits can be bought from the Canadian Red Cross on the CRC website. The Salvation Army, for example, also has a standard kit as well as a car kit available for purchase on its website. If you decide to make your own, here are a few things it should contain:
- Water and/or water purification kit
- Non-perishable snacks
- Extra clothing
- First aid kit/other medical equipment
- Pre-moistened towelettes
- Hand sanitizer
- Zip-lock plastic bags
- Disposable cutlery/plates
- Flashlights and plenty of batteries
- Battery or crank-operated radio
- Pet care items
- Check your insurance policies:Review your home and auto policies to ensure they are up to. Wind and water are the most common reasons for claims, so talk to your broker to confirm what your policies cover.
- Secure valuable items:It’s a good idea to have a safe deposit box to keep valuable photos or documents. It’s even better to have it off-site. Take pictures or shoot video of the contents of your home, garage or patio and store the documentation in your deposit box. If these records are up-to-date, this be helpful in the event of a claim.
- An ounce of prevention:Taking the time to secure and maintain your property goes a long way toward preventing certain types of damage. Well-trimmed trees are less likely to lose limbs or topple in a storm. If you have advance notice of severe weather, secure lawn furniture, bird feeders, patio equipment or wind chimes, for example, which could all become potential projectiles in high winds.
Preparing for storm season means thinking ahead. Make sure your family is ready.
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