How to Prepare for a Disaster

When a natural or man-made disaster hits, possible loss or destruction of property and family members' whereabouts can be traumatic. A disaster preparedness plan will insure that your family and possessions are safeguarded.


Of primary importance is family members' safety. With small children under six, get them dog tags and include names, addresses, phone numbers, and medical conditions. Place them on your child when disaster hits. For older children, have them memorize the same information.

Scout out a location where family can meet up if separated during a disaster, or if in different places when disaster hits.

Find out from your local disaster agencies where designated shelters are, and if they will be stocked with food, water, blankets, medical personnel, and other necessities.

Contact your child's school to find out their disaster preparedness plan, and have them mail you a copy.

Decide upon two routes of escape from your home and perform practice drills with your family.

Put all valuables in safety deposit boxes at your bank.

Call your insurance company to find out what disaster or loss coverage your policies provide and update if necessary.

Place financial and personal documents of identification or certification in fire- and water-resistant containers. Include hard-drive disks from old computers.

Get an appraiser to evaluate your property to be eligible for FEMA pay-outs for property loss or damage.

For antique possessions, put them to use, otherwise you may not claim them on your income tax return.

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