Flooded House

Preparing for Disaster Before it Strikes

Emergency Preparedness Beyond Bottled Water and Batteries

September is National Preparedness Month, a dedicated time to get your home organized for disaster preparation. Whether you prepare for a hurricane or an earthquake or a flash flood depends on the likelihood of these disasters occurring in your area, but the basics of natural disaster preparedness are the same, requiring these four elements to have a fully organized home emergency plan.

Personal Information

What information would be important to have if your home suddenly was destroyed by a flood, earthquake, or tornado? Many people think more about having a stockpile of peanut butter than they do about having their personal identification and essential documents accessible. My favorite resource for organizing your important documents is the Vital Records PortaVault, which you can zip up and literally grab and go with its carrying strap.

You can also manage your important documents securely online with services like Delphi Vital Information Manager. Our computer hard drives also contain crucial information, including most of our family photos nowadays, so make sure they are backed up remotely and securely in case they are destroyed. Services like Carbonite and Mozy are available for that.

Home Inventory

Preparing for disaster includes documenting the contents of your home in the event they need replacement. Creating a home inventory also helps to make sure your insurance coverage is adequate for what you actually own. You might be surprised at the value of your home’s contents! Allstate’s free Digital Locker app for the iPhone makes it easy to take photos and make notations on every item and keep them securely with you. You can also use free web-based services like Know Your Stuff®.

Personal Safety

Disaster preparedness also includes having a family emergency plan. How will you reach each other? Where will you meet? Who are others close to your family who can be a helpful part of your family disaster plan? What are evacuation routes near your home? What are your fire escape and tornado shelter plans? Ready.gov has a step-by-step emergency planner you can complete online to walk you through creating your disaster plans, as well as printable forms you can fill out. And don’t forget your pets! Ready.gov has some suggestions to prepare for your pets’ comfort and safety as well.

Home Emergency Kits

We all know we need bottled water and batteries, but have you thought about having a corded telephone in case the power goes out, or an extra pair of prescription glasses? FEMA has a full checklist, and Ready.gov has a checklist as well.

Make a note on your calendar to review your supplies once a year after you’ve assembled them and replace expired items.

Preparing for a disaster may not be the first fun thing on your to-do list, but it’s the ultimate way of being fully organized, and it’s essential planning for survival and restoration. Share your experiences and emergency preparedness tips in the comments!

Allstate Insurance Company does not own and is not affiliated with Vital Records PortaVault, Delphi Vital Information Manager, Carbonite, Mozy, Know Your Stuff®, Ready.gov or FEMA. Allstate makes no warranties or representations and is not liable for any goods or services provided by these organizations.

Lorie Marrero is a guest blogger from The Clutter Diet. In exchange for sharing this content, the Allstate Community has compensated her via cash payment.