Natural catastrophes can strike quickly and without warning. When they do, anything that can move, fall, break or cause a fire is a hazard. The following checklists will help you identify the worst hazards and bolster your home’s resistance to damage from hurricanes, fires, tornadoes, earthquakes and floods.
Home Inspection Checklist
The Family Emergency Preparedness Protection Program suggests that you inspect your home at least once a year for potential hazards.
Identify your home’s utility shut-off valves and learn how to use them.
Have at least one flashlight and a battery-powered radio.
Make an evacuation plan so all family members know several escape routes and where to meet outside. Conduct drills to practice the plan.
Have one or more fire extinguishers and learn how to use them. Have the extinguisher serviced according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Disaster Supply Kit Checklist
Expect to go three days after a natural disaster without power or basic services such as electricity, water, fire fighters, and police. To be prepared, assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit for your household and a smaller version for the car.
For each person, include one change of clothing and footwear, a blanket or sleeping bag, and a three-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day).
A first aid kit, including all of your family’s prescription medicines and extra glasses.
Emergency tools, including a radio, flashlight and extra batteries.
An extra set of car keys, a credit card and cash or traveler’s checks.
Any special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members.
A waterproof pouch containing important family documents.
Emergency Food & Water Checklist
Food and water are essential to survival. In case of emergency, it’s important to keep a few things in mind about what to eat and drink.
Use food in the refrigerator first, then the freezer. Frozen food will keep up to three days in an unopened freezer.
Keep a few extra canned goods in the back of the cupboard.
The water heater (30-40 gallons) should contain enough water to last a four-person household four days. (Turn off power before draining and be careful of sediments that can accumulate at the bottom of the tank.)
Ice cubes in the freezer and liquid from canned food can be used.
If you’d rather not store extra water, consider keeping purification tablets on hand. Household chlorine bleach will disinfect water, too. Use one-eighth of a teaspoon per gallon of water and let stand for 30 minutes before drinking. Do not use bleach with added soaps or fragrances.
In certain cases of natural disaster, emergency personnel will order an area to evacuate its homes. If directed to do so by, comply immediately, keeping in mind the following checklist:
Keep emergency and other critical numbers posted clearly near a phone.
Listen to your battery powered radio for weather and emergency updates.
Follow the instructions of local emergency officials on evacuation procedures.
Wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes.
Take your Disaster Supplies Kit with you, including important family documents.
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If instructed to do so, shut off water, gas, oil and electricity before leaving.
Post a note telling others when you left and where you are going.
To learn more about emergency preparedness and resources available in your community, contact your local emergency services department, the American Red Cross, or your independent insurance agent.