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Personal and Family Preparation, November 4, 2015

  1. Make an itemized list of personal property, which includes clothing, furnishings and valuables. Take photographs of your home, both inside and out, and store in a safe place. This will help an insurance adjuster to settle any claims and to help prove uninsured losses. Keep you insurance policies and a list of personal property in a safe place, such as a safe deposit box. Know the name, phone number, and location of the agent(s) who issued your policy.
    Identify important documents to take with you when you leave such as drivers license, mortgage papers and medical records.
  2. Form an evacuation plan. The key to surviving an El Nino flood is to learn the safest route away from your home to a safe area, in case you need to evacuate in a hurry. Without an evacuation plan, you might turn from evacuees into refugees.
  3. Prepare a cache of emergency supplies. This includes keeping a set of emergency cooking equipment, food, fresh batteries, flashlights and portable radios in good working order. A supply of bottled water, one gallon per person per day, for 7 days be on hand in case of contamination.  If you live in an area prone to flooding, keep a steady supply of plywood, plastic sheeting and sandbags to protect your property.
  4. Purchase flood insurance ahead of time. Often, flooding is not covered under natural disaster insurance, and will require a separate insurance policy specifically for flooding. Contact your insurance provider about flood insurance. Don’t wait until the rains come to apply! Most insurance companies have a 30-day waiting period before this policy can be effective. Keep your insurance policies and itemized list of personal property in a safe location.
  5. If you are a parent:  Know your local emergency phone numbers.   Know the emergency plans for your children’s schools and day care centers.  Identify someone to pick up your children if you are unable to do so.  Prepare and evacuation plan for your family and practice it.  Make sure your children know their schools and family’s emergency plans.  Develop a family phone tree or other mechanism family members can use to contact one another if they become separated.  Identify a place to reunite if you and members of your family are separated.
  6. Know the locations of your gas and water shut-off valves. Shut-off tools, available at home centers and hardware stores, attach to your systems in case of an emergency and are easy to use.  Teach responsible family members how to shut off all utilities.  Contact your utility company if you have any questions.
  7. Pets – Make an emergency kit for your dog, cat or other pets. Take a 5-gallon bucket and fill it with a bag of dry food or canned food, bottled water, leash, blanket and a toy.
  8. Ice – Store big bags of ice in the freezer. This ice will keep freezer contents cold in case of power failure. They may also be transferred to the refrigerator or ice chests to keep food cold. When the ice melts, it provides more drinking water.
  9. Electrical Power – Purchase an emergency generator and have a licensed electrician install it to the house correctly.  Improper installations can hurt or kill emergency workers.  An alternative to a generator, to power smaller electrical gadgets, is a power inverter.  A power inverter converts your vehicle’s DC electrical current into AC current.
  10. Rain Gear – Have rain gear available.  This goes beyond an umbrella and should include rubber boots and rain suits or ponchos to keep you dry while handling outdoor emergencies.
  11. Consider and plan for the needs of infants, seniors and persons with disabilities.
  12. Organize your neighborhood to be self-sufficient during an emergency.
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