Emergency Preparedness: 5 Simple Home Tasks to Consider
An emergency can occur at any time, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead and be prepared. Emergency preparedness doesn’t have to be a big undertaking — splitting up tasks and tackling a few per week may help make it more manageable. Here are five simple home tasks you can consider to help you and your family be ready in an emergency.
1. Document Your Belongings
If you haven’t done so already, consider creating a home inventory of your belongings. Walk through each room and take stock of your possessions. You can write a list, create a computer spreadsheet or download a smartphone app to help keep a record of your belongings. You may even want to consider taking photos or making a video to have additional documentation. Lastly, make sure to list any serial numbers on high-value items like electronics or appliances so you know the exact models you have, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). Remember, store a copy of your home inventory outside of your home like in a safe deposit box or the cloud, says the III.
2. Make a Grab-and-Go Binder
In case of an evacuation, you want to be able to quickly locate and grab all of your important documents so you can easily take them with you. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, you should consider making a grab-and-go binder with plastic sleeves where you can store documents like birth certificates, tax returns and insurance policies.
3. Stock Up on Bottled Water
Bottled water is a vital item to have in an emergency. Depending on the situation, you may not have access to clean drinking water, says Ready.gov. That’s why it’s important to have an emergency water supply of your own. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you should have one gallon of water per person (and pet) per day for at least three days. Ideally, the CDC suggests having two weeks’ worth of water in your home, if possible.
4. Back Up Your Phone Contacts
Most people store all their important contacts in a smartphone. If your phone is lost, stolen or damaged, you may lose all that information if you didn’t properly back it up. Consider having a physical or digital backup of your contacts’ phone numbers and addresses, just in case, says Ready.gov. Depending on what type of smartphone you have, you may be able to back up your contacts straight to your computer or the cloud. You can even write down all of this information into an address book and store that with your grab-and-go binder.
5. Map Out Evacuation Routes
If you are unable to use GPS, would you be able to navigate a few different evacuation routes? In an emergency, you’ll need to know several alternate routes if you’re instructed to leave, according to Ready.gov. Get familiar with your state’s roads and highways and learn how to get in or out of your area. Consider keeping a map of your state or region in your car’s glove compartment, your grab-and-go binder or your car’s emergency kit. Paper maps are often available at rest stops, state welcome centers or roadside assistance providers. You can also typically purchase maps at gas stations and book stores.
With a little preparation, you and your family can be ready if the unexpected occurs.