Tag Archives: Disaster Preparedness

Severe Weather Preparedness

 

Severe weather can happen at any time and it usually doesn’t check  with you first to make sure its coming at a convenient time. Therefore, it is beneficial to remind you of how important it is to have an emergency plan in place before disaster strikes.

If you have never thought about creating an emergency plan, a great place to start is www.ready.gov. This website will help you create a plan, and build and maintain a kit to prepare yourself for your greatest disaster risks.

Otherwise, I recently discovered an excellent blog, A Bowl Full of Lemons. The blog’s author, Toni Hammersly, wrote a blog series on Emergency Preparedness that goes step by step on how to prepare for an emergency and what to include in your emergency kit.

One item Toni says to include in your emergency kit is an Emergency Preparedness Binder. This binder will include photocopies, or better yet the originals, of all your important information. Possible documents to include are:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Drivers License
  • Social Security Card
  • DD 214 (Military Record)
  • Advanced Medical Directive
  • Power of Attorney
  • Baptism Records
  • Life Insurance Policy
  • Home Insurance Policy
  • Insurance Cards
  • Will or Trust
  • Deeds and Titles
  • Credit Cards (both sides)

 

TIP: If you use photocopies, specify where original documents came from (Example: Marriage Certificate came from Allegan County Courthouse).

Also, save a copy of all  documents included in the binder on a zip drive or saved 'in the cloud', such as with Dropbox.com.  Store your emergency binder in a water and fire proof safe that can be bolted down to the floor, such as this safe.

 

Other important information to include in your Emergency Preparedness Binder include:

  • Information about your family’s health records (especially those with special needs)
  • A family emergency plan
  • Insurance policies and phone numbers
  • Emergency phone numbers (Fire department, Gas, Electric Company, Police, Poison Control, etc)
  • Family phone numbers (closest relatives, neighbors, baby sitters, etc).

 

Toni encourages readers to start setting aside cash for your emergency fund. A smart plan is to save $2 per family member, per paycheck. Combine bills and coins, because in the event of a major disaster, electricity will most likely be out and credit cards wont work.

 

If you are feeling a little overwhelmed with everything that should go into your emergency binder, check out Toni’s blog, www.abowlfulloflemons.net. I encourage you to read through the eight week blog series about Emergency Preparedness and start creating your emergency plan. To help you get started, she sells an E-Book ($10) including the entire 8 week blog series, and Emergency Binder printables.

 

The E-Book includes:

  • Checklist for setting up your storage area
  • Food & Water Storage Guide
  • 72 Hour Kit Checklist
  • First Aid Kit Inventory
  • First Aid Kit Printable
  • Important Documents & Cash Stash Checklist
  • “Grab” in case of emergency list
  • List of personal documents to place in Emergency Binder
  • Family Emergency Plan Printable
  • Insurance Policies Printable
  • Family Health Information Printable
  • Emergency Numbers Printable
  • Important Numbers Printable
  • Supplies Tips
  • EmergencySupplies Checklist
  • Faraday Cage Directions
  • Hygiene & Pet Kit Sheet
  • Hygiene List
  • Pet Kit Checklist
  • Comfort Kit Checklist
  • Fun Kit Checklist
  • and more!

 

Don’t forget to include a copy of your home inventory list! This can be written or via photos or video.

Fairdale, IL Tornado

View this aftermath photo from a tornado that struck the town of Fairview, IL on April 9, 2015. Put yourself in that situation. Think about how difficult it would be to sift through the debris to locate all of your important documents and to communicate to your insurance agent all that you own for your claim settlement. Hmmm…make your life easier in preparation for any loss and complete a home inventory.

 

*NOTE: Reno Agency is in no way affiliated with A Bowl Full of Lemons nor do we receive any compensation for sales of their E-Book. We just feel they are a great resource to share with our readers.


 Photo of Amber Whitman

About the Author: Amber Whitman is the marketing consultant for the Reno Agency.


 

Are You Flood Ready?

As the Winter snow melts, and the Spring rains fall, do you know if you are protected if your property is flooded?

Many homeowners believe that their homeowners insurance covers them from floods. However, they are very wrong. You must purchase a separate flood insurance policy to protect your home and contents in the event of a flood. There are flood insurance policies for homeowners, renters, and condo owners.

So the next question is, “How do I know if I need Flood Insurance?”

FEMA manages the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which makes federally-backed flood insurance available in communities that agree to adopt and enforce floodplain management ordinances to reduce future flood damage. Flood insurance is available in most communities through insurance agents and is available whether the building is in or out of an identified flood-prone area.

To find out if your home or business is at risk for flood, FEMA has compiled flood hazard maps that outline your community’s different flood risk areas. Remember,

What to do to prepare yourself for the chance of a flood

Educate Yourself

After getting flood insurance, there are several things you can do to minimize losses in your home and ensure your family’s safety.

1. Safeguard your possessions.

Create a personal flood file containing information about all your possessions and keep it in a secure place, such as a safe deposit box or waterproof container. This file should have:

1. A copy of your insurance policies with your agents contact information.

2. A household inventory: For insurance purposes, be sure to keep a written and visual (i.e., videotaped or photographed) record of all major household items and valuables, even those stored in basements, attics or garages. Create files that include serial numbers and store receipts for major appliances and electronics. Have jewelry and artwork appraised. These documents are critically important when filing insurance claims. For more information visit www.knowyourstuff.org.

2. Prepare your house.

1. First make sure your sump pump is working and then install a battery-operated backup, in case of a power failure. Installing a water alarm will also let you know if water is accumulating in your basement.

2. Clear debris from gutters and downspouts.

3. Anchor any fuel tanks.

4. Raise your electric components (switches, sockets, circuit breakers, and wiring) at least 12 inches above your home’s projected flood elevation.

5. Place the furnace, water heater, washer, and dryer on cement blocks at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation.

6. Move furniture, valuables, and important documents to a safe place.

3. Develop a family emergency plan.

1. Create a safety kit with drinking water, canned food, first aid, blankets, a radio, and a flashlight.

2. Post emergency telephone numbers by the phone and teach your children how to dial 911.

3. Plan and practice a flood evacuation route with your family. Know safe routes from home, work, and school that are on higher ground.

4. Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to be your emergency family contact.

5. Have a plan to protect your pets.

 

For more information on emergency preparation, talk to your insurance agent or visit Ready.gov.

Read about Michigan’s Flood Facts here.

Read about how to stay safe During a Flood.

**Information in this article was provided by www.floodsmart.gov and www.fema.gov.

 

Check It Out: New Tornado App Released

redcross-logo

 

 

 

 

Posted March 04, 2013 , Michigan on http://www.redcross.org/news/article/New-Tornado-App-Released-Western-Michigan

The American Red Cross has launched its official Tornado App, putting lifesaving information right in the hands of people who live in, visit, or have loved ones in tornado-prone areas.

This free app—available in English and Spanish—gives iPhone, iPad and Android smart phone and tablet users instant access to local and real-time information, so they know what to do before, during and after a tornado. The app includes a high-pitched siren and “tornado warning!” alert that signals people when a NOAA tornado warning has been issued in their area – even if the app is closed. An “all clear!” alert lets users know when a tornado warning has expired or has been cancelled.

“Tornadoes often happen in the overnight hours when people are sleeping,” said Cheryl Bremer, Regional CEO of the Red Cross of West Michigan. “The audible alerts in this app can save lives – even if users can’t monitor the weather because they are away from radio, TV or in places where weather band radios may not work.”

Other features of the app include:

  • Location-based NOAA tornado, severe thunderstorm and flood watch and warning alerts;
  • Enhanced weather maps;
  • One-touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to broadcast reassurance to family and friends that they are out of harm’s way;
  • Simple steps and checklists people can use to create an emergency plan and share it with household members;
  • Preloaded content that gives users instant access to critical action steps, even without mobile connectivity;
  • Toolkit with flashlight, strobe light and audible alarm;
  • Locations of open Red Cross shelters; and
  • Badges users can earn through interactive quizzes and share on social networks.

Launched during National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, the Tornado App is the latest in a series of mobile apps created by the Red Cross, the nation’s leader in emergency preparedness. The apps have been used to help save lives during hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires.

“The Red Cross has made great strides in putting vital information in the hands of people who need it during emergencies. In fact, our apps are now on more than two million mobile devices across the country,” added Bremer.

Mobile activity soared due to Superstorm Sandy:

  • More than 400,000 people downloaded the Red Cross Hurricane App;
  • Nearly 6 million NOAA weather alerts were sent;
  • Preparedness content was the most popular feature of the app followed by alerts and the shelter locator;
  • The average time spent using the app increased 300 percent; and
  • The app had 15 million page views.

Right after the storm, the Hurricane App was updated with real-time recovery information including Red Cross shelter and feeding sites, FEMA sites, open gas stations and warming centers to help those affected by the storm.

The Tornado App, along with the others, can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps. Apps can help prepare people for disasters, but they are not a substitute for training. Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED training empowers people to know how to respond to emergencies in case advanced medical help is delayed. People can visit redcross.org/take-a-class for course information and to register.

The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters each year and we help people get ready to respond to emergencies by providing these apps for free. The Red Cross needs the help of the public to continue this lifesaving effort. People can make a donation to the Red Cross by going to redcross.org, texting REDCROSS to 90999 or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS.

About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at blog.redcross.org.